A Simple Question

June 10, 2014

A little over two years ago, a young man walked into my flower shop and during the course of our conversation, he asked me how our flowers get here. I thought that was a good question, and I had questions of my own about this very topic so I did some research to make sure I could answer correctly and to the best of my knowledge. The answer? By airplanes and big refrigerated trucks was my simple answer. And that is one hundred percent true. However, as time passed, the answer kept changing. You see, it isn’t quite as simple as just airplanes and trucks. The whole picture is actually much larger and more complex than that.

One day as I was unwrapping a bunch of roses I noticed that the packaging came with a label attached that read "Packed by Patricia". I couldn't help but wonder, who was Patricia? What was she like? Did she pack flowers from dusk til dawn to earn a living? How old was she? What were her dreams and aspirations? I also tried to envision the flower farm and all of her co-workers. What was life like for these people?

By looking at the packaging I could also tell that the roses were grown in Colombia. How many miles away is that I thought. It must be a couple of thousand miles at least! Oh the journey for the flower! These beautiful flowers whose life begins slipping away the moment they are cut from their parent plant and whose sole purpose is to bring happiness and cheer and meaning to our lives all for what could be considered a micro second when compared to the lives of us humans. Once here, all they require is clean water and a nice, fresh forty five degree angled cut to their stems every couple of days to help extend their life span. Still sounds pretty simple though, right? Not so much.

I wondered, it must be virtually impossible to provide these necessary and crucial benefits of having their stems recut and to remain hydrated as they travel from what seems life halfway across the world to get here to my shop. How long does this process take? How do these wonderful, living organisms survive their trip and arrive in such good shape week after week after week? I began to see a much bigger picture evolving, as I pondered the amazing journey from the harvesting at the farm to the arduous process of shipping via planes and trucks and finally arrving to my flower shop.

The moral of this story is that flowers don’t just get here on planes and big trucks. Yes, they simply need fresh water and to be re-cut every couple of days in order to continue living and bringing us joy once here, but there is much much more to their story. This and following blogs will help explain the processes involved and also serves to debunk the myth that florists just gather and sell flowers from a “magic garden” out in back of their shops. The complex tale of the flower’s journey is to be continued... Those blogs and more will come later when you have more time to read. Bye for now! ;)