There has been a lot of talk in recent times about sustainability in the flower industry. The use of imported flowers. The use of floral foam. Waste. Vasette is one florist who is delighted to hear and be involved in discussions on this issue.
We like to think we have always been a leader in the industry. In this, working towards a more sustainable industry, we are leaders too. Years ago, Cherrie Miriklis-Pavlou saw this as an issue and had looked at grower-florists overseas and decided that the more we could grow ourselves, the better.
There are so many reasons Vasette decided to become Australia's first (and only) grower-florist shop, with our sister property, Beechmont Garden Retreat becoming our very own working flower and foliage farm.
We cut "flower miles". There is far less fuel consumption with the short distance to transport the flowers to our shop, which means less carbon emissions. We're doing our best to combat greenhouse gasses.
Fresher flowers. Less refrigeration time is required for the flowers we grow ourselves. This is a great way to get the freshest possible flowers to the shop. We also support local growers as much as possible for the same reason. This too is better for the planet, as less refrigeration means less energy consumed.
Lessicides. By growing in our own garden, we have far more control over which and how much (as few and as little as possible) sprays are being used on the flowers. The mass produced 'perfection' of the African and Central American flowers are adored by some of our customers and there's a call for that look for sure. On the other hand, the natural, the curiously shaped, the uneven, the quirky blooms that are winnowed out during mass production can be included in our own goods. For some of our customers, the more the flowers look garden grown, the better. They love the oddly angled flower head in the bunch, the caterpillar munch-mark on the leaf, that strange sweeping stem their favourite. We embrace wabi-sabi, the Japanese concept acknowledging that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect.
More choice. We find we have more choice in the variety of flowers grown, which in turn helps to support specialist nurseries and lessens the homogenisation of the flower and garden varieties available. We support specialist seed suppliers and rare plant growers as we buy and trial old fashioned varieties as well as new hybrids where available. Marauding deer have tastes for these rare delicacies as well, so some varieties are especially rewarding considering their apparent deliciousness. The ones the deer don't munch make their way into a bunch.
A great way to recycle. As you can imagine, our beautiful florist shop in Fitzroy creates a lot of green waste. Leaves stripped from stems, trimmings and old flowers all have the chance to become compost and mulch at Beechmont to nurture the next lot of flowers and so the cycle goes. The circle of life!
A greater customer experience. We offer hands-on workshops, foraging in the garden for seasonal flowers and foliage (with the expert guidance and assistance from the onsite gardener of course), conditioning and creating the freshest flower arrangements possible under the tutelage of our most knowledgable florists. To see the gorgeous gardens (no flower making required) you can book to stay at Beechmont for a refreshing weekend away.
Of course there are the ways we work on making our shop as environmentally friendly as can be too. Biodegradable plastic bags are chosen for wet-wrapping the bottoms of our delivered bunches. Our wrapping paper is made from recycled stock. We prefer to stock cards made from recycled materials too.
The reality is the world is a global marketplace these days. All industries rely on imports. Is there a wardrobe that contains not a single item manufactured in China, Vietnam or Sri Lanka? Does there exist anywhere in Australia a pantry without imported food? The technology we all rely on, the phone, laptop or desktop you're reading this on - imported.
So we must also buy on the import market as well as from our beloved local growers. We are no different from any other industry in that regard and expect today's consumer to be increasingly aware of or more curious about the environmental impact of their purchases. That's why we hope to continue to be a leader in this industry as we move towards our 30th anniversary in business, and stay sustainable for another 30.