Where to Get Eco Conscious Cut Flowers #YEG

Where to Get Eco Conscious Cut Flowers #YEG juicygreenmom

I told you about all the dangers of the commercial cut flower industries in my post about why NOT to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day. But guess what? Not ALL cut flowers are evil! In fact, there are local flower growers and florists in Edmonton (and likely in your community as well) who are making the flower business more eco conscious.

Of course, living in Edmonton means a super short growing season compared to other parts of the world. That means that Edmonton florists do rely on imported flowers for the winter months. I’ve rounded up some of the local flower growers and florists in the Edmonton area who are making the most of our short growing season, and integrating more eco conscious practices in their business. Read on to find out what they say about their businesses, and keep an eye out for GIVEAWAYS!

Click on an image to go directly to the write-up for that company!

Bar OA Farms Eco Conscious Cut Flowers #YEG juicygreenmom
1816 farmhouse florals Eco Conscious Cut Flowers #YEG juicygreenmom
scissors creek flowers Eco Conscious Cut
THE LITTLE FLOWER TRUCK CO Eco Conscious Cut Flowers #YEG juicygreenmom
Meadow and Thicket Eco Conscious Cut Flowers #YEG juicygreenmom

Giveaway Rules:

*NOTE: Because the prizes will require local Edmonton area pickup, this giveaway is only open to entrants who live in Edmonton and surrounding areas. If you are selected as a winner and are not able to arrange for local Edmonton area pickup, an alternate winner will be chosen. Winners will be contacted via the medium entered, and will have 24 hours to respond. After this time, an alternate winner will be chosen.

You can enter by:

– commenting on this blog post (10 entries for 1 comment, maximum 1 comment)

– liking and commenting on my Instagram post (1 entry per comment, maximum 5 comments – you must follow all connected accounts for your entries to count)

– liking and commenting on my Facebook post (1 entry per comment, maximum 5 comments)

ALL entries will be pooled and SEVERAL winners will be drawn – one for each of the prizes!

Contest closes at 12:00am Mountain Time on Sunday February 7, 2021.

We have WINNERS!

  • Insung Peak – you’ve won a spring flower subscription from @baroafarms (thanks for your blog comment!)
  • Katie Benedik – you’ve won a gift card for a summer bouquet from @meadow.and.thicket (thanks for your blog comment!)
  • @_ngochan – you’ve won a floral arrangement and eucalyptus bundle from @1816farmhouse (thanks for your IG entry!)
  • @project.ucc – you’ve won a bouquet from @thelittleflowertruck.ca (thanks for your IG entry!)

Bar OA Farms

I have gotten flowers and seeds from Bar OA Farms via Good Goods Co. I have been so impressed with the freshness and beauty of these cut flowers! Bryanna and Gary have a flower farm in the Edmonton area, and offer gorgeous arrangements from what they grow.

Here are Bryanna’s responses to my questions:

Why did you decide to start growing your own flowers?

I had been involved in the event and floral industry for a large part of my life as my parents own a small event rental company in Northern Alberta. I also grew up on a small hobby farm and developed a love for all things agriculture. In 2017, when Gary and I were going to get married I knew that I really wanted to have dahlias as part of our wedding flowers. But what I also knew was that for florists to get dahlias they must be shipped in, usually from BC to one of two floral wholesalers remaining in Edmonton. Dahlias are a bit fickle, they don’t like being out of water for long and they really don’t like cold temperatures found in most floral coolers. Dahlias from BC are shipped dry packed in a refrigerated truck, so by the time they arrive in Edmonton they are none too happy and many drop their petals or don’t look their best. What this means is you need to order a lot extra of them to ensure you have enough and then several end up in the compost bin. Because of all the extra work needed to grow a dahlia they are a pricey investment to throw half away. Since I had a background in farming, and we had room in our backyard (which was basically a weed patch from the previous owner), and a husband willing to help move dirt, we installed raised beds in our yard and planted 200 dahlia tubers in the colours and styles we wanted. That summer we learned a lot about pests, temperatures, and processing cut dahlias so we could have exactly what we wanted – beautiful, chemical free flowers that were happy to be alive.

After seeing the flowers, other people started asking if I could grow flowers for them, and the rest I guess is history.

What practices have you integrated to make your business more eco conscious?

  • Packaging – We are working on how to make our packaging more eco-conscious. Currently our flowers are wrapped in plain kraft paper that can be recycled. For anyone who participates in our subscription we put the flowers in buckets of water which prevents the need for wrapping the stems and putting a plastic cover on them (which is needed when we sell through third party platforms).
  • Inputs – We don’t use commercial pesticides or fertilizers. Everything we grow with is safe for our dog and our child because they use the same place to play in as the flowers grow. We use things like fish fertilizer for nutrients, our homemade compost, and things like dish soap.
  • Composting – We divert all the kitchen scraps, left over leaves, stems, non-saleable flowers, etc to our compost bin so that we can make compost to enrich our soil for our plants.
  • Diversity of crops – We grow a diversity of crops and try really hard not to have the same crops grown in the same area for more than one season. This helps with insect and disease pressure.
  • Trap crops – We have been experimenting with various different trap crops to control insects. For example, we have been planting nasturtium as a trap crop for aphids to keep them from attacking the dahlias.
  • The way we sell to and engage with customers – A big thing for us is how are we telling our story, how customers know the impact that the traditional/mainstream floral industry is having on not only the environment, but the people working in it.
  • The Alberta Flower Collective – This last fall, myself and another local flower farmer stared the Alberta Flower Collective which is a buying cooperative for Alberta growers. What this does is improve efficiency for all of us. So for example, we sometimes purchase very small plants called plugs from other suppliers. When you purchase these you need to purchase each variety in a minimum of 200 plants. And to be the most effective on shipping you need to fill a box with 5 trays. For one grower, this adds up to a lot of plants and isn’t usually a good option. But by purchasing with others, you can split the cost and the varieties which is better for each grower and better for the environment.
  • Propagation methods (trays/soil blocks/Ellepots) – This is another area of ongoing interest for us. The horticulture industry uses a lot of plastic, particularly for propagation trays. Many growers are moving to a method using soil blocks. Last year we tried soil blocks with limited success. They are time consuming to make, and take a lot of care to ensure the blocks don’t dry out during their growth. We lost a lot of seedlings last year, so this year we are testing another method called Ellepots. These little “pots” made of paper hold the soil within a plastic tray, which gives you the benefits of air pruning, which is why many people use soil blocks, with less time. One of the challenges that we are working on overcoming is the plastic tray. We think we have found a local company that will allow us to reuse the tray from year to year, making it the best option for us.
  • Design styles – A huge problem in the floral industry is the use of floral foam, which breaks down into microplasitcs. We don’t use floral foam with any of our farm grown flowers as we don’t see the need or benefit. Our bouquets come handtied, and if you order design, it will be created most often using chicken wire. For bigger event installations, we have figured out how to use re-usable plastic containers and hide them within the structure or behind the filler flowers so that foam is not required.
  • Plant Breeding – Another cool thing that we are involved in this year is a plant breeding trial with some scientists from Cornell University. Most seeds that we are all using come from a limited number of farms around the world, with very very few seed farms in Canada. With limited seed farms, you have limited options as to what to grow. This is a huge problem in the food industry, but is also an issue for the floral industry. We are working on developing our own seeds that will give us a unique product and one that is best suited to our micro-climate.

What do you do during the winter months?

  • Education – We use winter months to catch up with others, attend educational webinars, and conferences.
  • Business planning – Winter months are also used for planning new things for the upcoming season, finding new suppliers, and learning better ways to do things both in business and in production.
  • Starting Seeds – What many people don’t realize is that some of our longest crops, such as lisianthus, start growing in January.

What are your top 3 tips for people who are trying to make more eco conscious lifestyle choices?

1 – Understand where your product is coming from and what makes it eco-conscious/sustainable – there is a lot of green washing used in marketing, when you go to purchase something, dig deep into the company, ask questions to figure out if the company is being authentic. Anyone working towards doing better will not be afraid to tell you what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how it is making a difference.

2 – Go directly to the source whenever possible – this gives the most value back to the company you are supporting and allows them to better invest in their own sustainability programs (and you will likely get a better product as well).

3 – Choose to buy less, but better quality – we are in a throw away society, so any time you can purchase something that is a bit better quality and have to buy it less often the better it is for the environment.

How do people order flowers from you?

The best way to order anything from a small local maker/grower/artist is always to order directly from them. The reason for this is it gives the most amount of money back to that company. Our flower offerings can be purchased from our website found here.

In the winter months, and for Valentines Day we have a few options available. We have gift certificates in a number of denominations or we can set up a custom gift card amount as well. The best (and most eco-conscious) option to purchase our flowers is through our community supported agriculture subscription. The reason for this is it allows our farm to generate money up front in the off season when we have high costs for inputs such as seeds and potting mix. Secondly, we then know how many bouquets we need to cut for a given week, and cut those without having the added waste of bouquets that don’t sell. Third, it allows us to plan our delivery routes to reduce the number of km’s we need to drive – all which lead to our little farm being more sustainable.

GIVEAWAY: You can win a spring flower subscription from Bar OA Farms!

Scissors Creek Flowers

Scissors Creek Flowers is based in St Albert and Cathryn specializes in growing unique seasonal flowers. “From seed to vase” – these garden fresh bouquets feature different blooms based on what is growing.

Here are Cathryn’s responses to my questions:

Why did you decide to start growing your own flowers?

My journey into growing and arranging cut flowers began very organically.  I have been gardening my whole life but only started to grow my own flowers from seed in 2019. That first summer I produced some of the most beautiful cut flowers I had ever seen and as I shared them with others in my local community I began to notice that people really responded to the beauty of the flowers I was able to grow. I was able to offer them something unique and exciting that they could not easily find at the local florist or garden centre. This excitement and connection fueled my passion for sourcing and trailing more varieties of hard to grow and hard to find blooms with eye-catching textures and colors. Creating artfully designed floral arrangements was a natural transition and I began offering seasonal flower subscriptions and arrangements. Flowers excite me!  All the steps from planning, to planting, to anticipating the first flower of a new variety, to harvesting and of course now designing. Flowers help me connect with others in a meaningful and beautiful way. 

What practices have you integrated to make your business more eco conscious?

I think growing a garden was the single most eco conscious decision I have made in my life. By transforming spaces that were previously monoculture lawns and deck space, I have witnessed a complete transformation in the types and concentration of insects, birds, bees and small animals that are attracted to and find shelter and food in my yard. Attracting beneficial insects through planting a wide variety of foliage and flowers and the old ‘search and squash’ method of managing pests eliminates the need for pesticides or herbicides in my garden.

My goal by the end of 2021 is to return all of my garden waste and a large portion of our household food waste back into the soil by making my own compost on site.  

What do you do during the winter months?

In the winter I plan.  This is the time I do most of my office work – goal setting, creating my vision for the following year, choosing flower varieties, ordering seeds and spring bulbs, updating my website and deciding upon the year’s flower subscription options. This is when I create a seed starting plan and, around the end of January, start to plant seeds which will be tended to indoors until spring. 

What are your top 3 tips for people who are trying to make more eco conscious choices?

  • If you want it, make it. 
  • If you can buy it locally, support it.  
  • Plant something, anything.

How do people order flowers from you?

I sell seasonal flower subscriptions and special occasion arrangements from May until September each year. My seasonal subscription options and pricing are available on my website which is accessed through my Instagram profile. Order flowers by sending me a DM on Instagram or by emailing [email protected].

Meadow & Thicket

Meadow & Thicket is a small flower farm located near Wildwood, Alberta. Clara offers bouquet subscriptions and individual bouquets during the spring and summer (typically beginning in June). They have previously been at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market. What I think is really cool about them is that they will take back their spent bouquets from you and offer you 10% off your next purchase! They take their dead flowers back to include in their compost process, closing the soil fertility loop. Isn’t that AMAZEBALLS? They also take your raked up leaves in the fall to use for mulch and composting, and offer a gift certificate for the following year. I love these cool ways they are encouraging people to give back to their soil to grow more beautiful flowers!


Here are Clara’s responses to my questions:

Why did you decide to start growing your own flowers?

I have always grown a garden of some size, based on where I was living. My husband and I had yearned to nurture some farmland since we were both children. We are both well up there in age and recognized we were running out of time so we took the leap and “bought the farm”. The farm we relocated to had a garden area infested with quack grass, but it was the largest garden I have ever had, and I filled it immediately with flowers (after I dug up all the grass!). I felt some guilt at not growing veggies, but I am blessed to know some amazing veggie growers, so that was my excuse. But really, in hindsight, I realize I had a huge pent-up need to generate beauty by working with my soil. Not that veggies aren’t beautiful! But it was almost a completely unreasonable urge to fill my space with flowers and bees, and to learn about how to do that in our very challenging growing zone 2a. So it was an aesthetic, tactile, spiritual and intellectual thing.

Why did you decide to start a local flower business?

While I was researching how to grow the range of flowers/plants I was interested in, I came across the book Flower Confidential by Amy Stewart, which was a huge revelation about the cut flower industry and the loss of small-scale flower farms across North America. I also learned about “Slow Flowers” and realized that I had never seen a flower vendor at the farmers market in Edmonton that I frequent. I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could actually grow at a scale and at a level of quality, to sell at my market! That became my goal.

What practices have you integrated to make your business more eco conscious?

Well, from day one I wanted to protect and nurture my land. That was why we moved here. So for my flower growing, that meant using organic, biointensive practices. We are not certified organic, as Alberta and Canada do not offer certification for flowers, only for food crops. We use a permanent raised bed system, which is no-till or minimum till, all of our food and crop “waste” is composted. I am a soil scientist by training, so soil health is my highest priority in our cultivated area. We grow our crops on small intensively managed areas, and the rest of the land is left/managed for wildlife habitat. At the consumer end, we do not use floral foam for flower arrangements, we use unbleached kraft paper to wrap our bouquets, and we minimize our use of plastics. We also offer a 10% off discount to our customers who bring us back their spent flowers and kraft paper wrapping- which we add to our compost! And lastly, all of our market bouquets are composed of flowers grown here, on our property. We do not supplement our bouquets with flowers imported from out of the province or out of the country. In our first 2 years of operation, some of my wedding work involved imported flowers as I was worried about having sufficient blooms of the types my brides wanted. But it always felt wrong for me. I now have a strict no-import policy; if I don’t have enough of the right kind of bloom I substitute (with the bride’s permission) or purchase from other great local flower growers, whom we have more and more of now! I try to help my customers appreciate that, like food, flowers have seasons, and we are lucky to have 4 seasons, each with their own treasures.

What do you do during the winter months?

I get this question a lot! My growing season typically extends into mid September, after which most of my crops are taken out by frost. I do not yet have a greenhouse, all my flowers are field grown. From September through early November, there are a few weeks of digging up and storing delicate frost sensitive plants like dahlias and gladiolas, then planting of spring bulbs like tulips. Once that is done and right up to when the ground freezes hard, or we get more than a couple inches of snow, I am cleaning up the beds, applying compost and preparing them for spring. Following that, I crash for a couple weeks! Then it’s on to planning and ordering seeds for the following year. Planning takes a lot of time as I have a limited area of productive soil on which I can grow. Figuring out crop rotations to ensure I manage disease and pest pressure, but can still grow enough of the range of blooms I need is quite the effort! Seed starting commences again in early January! Winter is also when I study. I co-host a podcast on sustainable flower farming for growers in northern climates called The Sustainable Flowers Podcast so I spend a fair bit of time researching topics for our weekly podcast and just generally trying to improve my horticultural knowledge. From February on, it is back to full time growing!

What are your top 3 tips for people who are trying to make more eco conscious lifestyle choices?

  1. Always ask or investigate where your purchase and its contents originated, and how they got to you. Just raising your awareness of the actual sources of the things you need/enjoy will empower you to make decisions in line with your conscience.
  2. Less is more, small is beautiful, slow down and savour.
  3. Vote with your dollars and in your elections!

How do people order flowers from you?

Through my on-line shop, or by emailing me at [email protected]!

GIVEAWAY: You can win a gift card for a summer bouquet from Meadow & Thicket!

1816 Farmhouse Florals

1816 Farmhouse Florals is a floral artist in Edmonton who offers custom bouquets and designs. Suzan creates beautiful one-of-a-kind creations to suit the tastes and price point of her clients.

Here are Suzan’s responses to my questions:

Why did you decide to start a local flower business?

Since moving here from Seattle, I was missing the access to beautiful fresh flowers at an affordable price, which was an abundance in Seattle at all the farmers markets. So I wanted to bring that here to Edmonton. Flowers are a luxury but it doesn’t have to be, so I thought if I could put together beautiful arrangements to make it accessible for more people then more people can enjoy it. I’ve always loved playing with flowers and floral design so this was the perfect opportunity for me to pursue my dreams of being a florist.

What practices have you integrated to make your business more eco conscious?

When I started 1816 Farmhouse, it was in the summertime, so I sought out local flower farmers to try and get the freshest florals grown locally to reduce the carbon footprint. I was able to partner with Lindsay at Swallowtail Farm and Pamela at PoppyWynn to incorporate their flowers into my designs. I’m hoping to find more local flower farmers to support this summer and to bring their flowers to more people. I also get most of my vases second hand either on swaps or from Find so that I’m reusing/ recycling items that would normally end up in landfill. Since Edmonton has such a short growing season it is harder to get locally grown flowers year round. ;( I try to minimize waste by not using too much packaging or leaning towards more paper/ recyclable packaging vs plastic, and reusing/ repurposing items when possible.

What do you do during the winter months?

In the winter months, I do have to resort to getting flowers grown elsewhere to be able to continue to provide flowers for my clients. I would like to start looking into dry floral arrangements from locally sourced flowers for the winter months.

What is your top tip for people who are trying to make more eco conscious lifestyle choices?

Support local! There are a lot of locally grown flowers in the summer and some of them pivot to dry florals for the winter.

How do people order flowers from you?

People can place orders via my Instagram page, Facebook page or directly contacting me on my cellphone. 😉

GIVEAWAY: You can win a floral arrangement and eucalyptus bundle from 1816 Farmhouse Florals!

The Little Flower Truck Co.

The Little Flower Truck is a staple at the Bountiful Farmers Market (open on Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays). Monika also brings her flowers to lots of pop-up locations, and offers delivery of bouquets. You can get flower subscriptions and bouquets year-round.

Here are Monika’s responses to my questions:

Why did you decide to start a local flower business?

I actually own another business (Twig And Velvet jewelry) and so my love for design and all things pretty runs deep.
When Laura (the original owner of the flower truck) approached me to purchase the business from her, I was really hesitant about it. I truly loved the business, the truck was incredible and loved by so many, but I do not have a background in the floral industry. I do however have a business background and a love for design, creating, and appreciating beautiful things.
My husband and I purchased the business from Laura literally a week before the world shut down in 2020 because of the pandemic. We were scared but also excited as to this next chapter in our lives. I took it on as an adopted baby and have fallen in so much love with the business and have learned so much. I truly feel like I have made it my own and we are all so excited to watch it grow into something incredible.

What practices have you integrated to make your business more eco conscious?

I really wanted to make the business more eco-friendly from the beginning. I’m a huge believer in farm to table when it comes to the food I feel my family, and so I want to be more conscious of that rule when it comes to the flowers I sell.
Last season, we grew a few of our flowers right in our back yard, and tried very hard to shop from local farmers and make local connections for the upcoming seasons. Unfortunately with the pandemic and living in a cold climate… those things will only take you so far. We are still purchasing our blooms from all over the world and using whatever we can get our hands on at the moment, as supply and demand at the moment can be tricky.

What do you do during the winter months?

During the winter months, we purchase flowers from our local distributors and are blessed to be able to offer gorgeous blooms to all our customers. Flowers are the perfect way to show joy and love and we are just so happy we can do that … especially when the winters are long and cold.

What are your top tips for people who are trying to make more eco conscious lifestyle choices?

Being new in the industry, I’m just learning what and how to do things. I would say make friends with local farmers and grow a garden if you can!!

How do people order flowers from you?

I have a website where people can order flower subscriptions from me … I am in the midst of creating more options for people on there right now.
I also take many orders through Instagram and email.

GIVEAWAY: You can win a bouquet from The Little Flower Truck Co.!

Good luck with the giveaways! I hope this post, and my post about the problems with the commercial flower industry will help you make more informed eco conscious choices! These ladies are all doing some great work in our community!

Where do you buy cut flowers in your community?


15 Responses

  1. Love the local features and getting to know some of the florists, they make beautiful arrangements!

  2. I’m so excited to read this post! I LOVE flowers but almost never get cut flowers as I’m too aware of their environmental impact

  3. So helpful as I always love getting flowers as gifts or “just because” and this opened my eyes to support local and consider the greater picture!

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