Have you ever really thought when purchasing your flowers, where have these florals come from? Have you considered that the cheap roses that you just purchased at the grocery store were flown half way around the world. That these florals were harvested by under paid workers, sometimes in very poor work conditions, that they have been sprayed with unknown chemicals, and handled by so many hands it is hard to track? Well, maybe not, it is a lot to think about, but, maybe it is time we do.
There is a way you can purchase your flowers that affords you such knowledge, it is called the slow flower movement. It is a way of purchasing florals that contribute back to your local economy, allows you to know where exactly your flowers are coming from, how far they have travelled, when they were harvested, by whom, with a gaurentee to be the freshest floral product you have ever experienced. But, you may ask, why is she talking about this now?
As many of you know, who follow me and are our regular customers, I am not only a florist, a business owner, a mother, and a wife, but I am also a student. Currently, I am on my final two courses for my Business diploma before going on to my full B-Commerce degree. I took my business course after someone suggested to me that "I had no idea how to run a business", after owning my own floral shop for 7 years. So I thought, what have I missed and I wanted to be sure I was not conducting XQZT Floral Design on a whim.
So started my journey at Fanshawe College as a business student in 2016, 4 years later and I am finally going to graduate. But, before that happens, I have two major final assignments that I must complete, an accumulation of all the skills I learned while taking my courses. Of all things, one of them is creating a business plan, and the other is conducting secondary marketing research to develop a business. True to my floral passion roots, I decided to do my business plan for a new farmer florist business and the secondary marketing research on the demand for a CAS bouquet program in Oxford and Norfolk county.
The reason for these two topics is that I am also very passionate about where my floral selections are coming from for the shop. In recent years, I have been doing more and more local sourcing for our floral creations and been leaning toward providing more sustainable, ethical, locally grown and harvested florals. This often means that two to three days a week, I am out at our local growers gathering florals to bring into the shop. In the summer, when the field flowers are ready, the trips increase and so do the varities of florals we are able to offer. These trips are within Oxford, Norfolk, Haldimand and Elgin County. On the rare occasion, sometimes to Middlesex County to get a few tantilizing blooms not available as close to home. All in all, if I can purchase locally grown flowers, they will be in our cooler at XQZT Floral Design. We love incorporating these blooms into our designs or even selling them by the bunch for our customers to use in their own DIY projects. It is an aspect of the business that I have become so driven toward that we have even started our own garden of fresh cut flowers.
Last year, we started our own garden of annuals, including Zinnias, dahlias, asters, sun flowers, bells of ireland, and galdiolus. On the property as well, there are also several perennial beds that we harvest from that include hosta's, peonies, holly, hydrangea, lily of the valley, and many others. These florals add new textures and colour to our designs and have become an exciting part of our creations. Never mind that it has created a bonding experience for myself, my husband, my kids and their Grandparents as we all work together to tend to the flowers. Riley, our youngest was even able to enter one of the dahlia's we grew into the Norfolk County Fair and received a fourth place ribbon for the bloom. She assures me that this year she is going for that first place ribbon and wants to grow some of the dinner plate dahlias. She says "go big or go home", and that she knows that the huge dahlias will "dress to impress". I will let you know how we make out at this years county fair when it comes along.
This spring we plan to plant more perrenials and annuals adding more native and heirloom blooms.to our selections.
As part one of where do my flowers come from, you can now answer that you can purchase locally grown flowers at XQZT Floral Design, and you now know why I am asking this question too.
Mandy Babbey has a drive to educate individuals on the world of floral design through what she calls a floracation. By offering classes, as well as public and private speaking engagements, she hopes to expand the floral industry into each and every ones homes by sharing her passion for flowers.