A Seasonal Bouquet
Recently I watched a Masterclass cooking lesson by Alice Waters, the founder of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. It was inspiring! Waters is the grand dame of seasonal cooking; her philosophy is that you serve whatever is fresh, local, seasonal and it will all be delicious without a lot of fancy preparation.
It’s the same with floral arrangements – if the flowers are at the peak of their season, harvested this morning from a local grower, then they’re bound to be better than bouquets that were picked a week ago and flown in from South America. You did know that, didn’t you? Most flowers sold in the US come from other countries, especially at big-box stores and large florists. But that’s changing fast, and you can always ask or look at labels to find local flowers. There’s a growing trend toward local flowers and here on the West Coast there are many small flower farms.
Clockwise from top left: spring tulips, spring daffodils, zinnias in summer, a fall harvest of heirloom mums.
Try looking up “flower farm” with your state or city name. You’ll probably find listings for people who grow and sell flowers near you. I urge you to support them! Try the map on the website of Floret, showing members of the Farmer-Florist Collective. You can zoom in to your local area and find flower farmers and florists who use local flowers. You’ll find our business, Tiny Footprint Flowers, listed. If you live in San Jose, California, you can easily order fresh blooms from us or from Grace Hope Flowers or Gal in the Glen or Petite Petal. Across the bay in Berkeley there’s the fascinating rooftop garden of Bluma. Imagine flowers being grown several stories above a city, flowers that you can order for your own home if you live in the Berkeley area.
These local flower farmers and florists can advise you about which flowers are in season at any time of year, but even if you can’t remember, you can rely on them to stock only what’s fresh and at its peak. In early spring that will be daffodils and tulips, with ranunculus and anemones starting a few weeks later, then a beautiful window of roses in their first spring bloom. Summer will bring cosmos, snapdragons followed by dahlias, strawflowers, sunflowers, zinnias and more roses. Fall will feature chrysanthemums, rudbeckia and the last of the zinnias and strawflowers. Winter is the scarcest time for flowers, but you’ll still find a few: hellebores, camellias and bulbs in pots for forcing indoors: amaryllis, narcissus and hyacinth. It’s a year-round bounty, so bring some of it into your home. Your local flower farmer will thank you!