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A Green Home: Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Flower Bouquets

2/24/2011 9:37:59 AM

Tags: a green home, jaci kennison, flowers, gifts, stones, homemade

Jaci KennisonJaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating.  

I had a fight with my mom the other day. This fact in and of itself is not necessarily something I would normally share with you, the devoted readers of Natural Home magazine. However, since my dear friend sent me a bouquet of flowers to remind me that mothers and daughters don’t always get along, it bears mentioning.

Flowers are not particularly sustainable. As a life form on this earth they are essential. They are also viable and quite sustainable when left to their own devices. It is when businesses get involved that things start to get a little crazy. Depending on how the flowers are raised, their growth may actually harm the environment with the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The method in which they are harvested, too, can be questionable. The delivery method can be damaging to the earth, as can the containers in which these lovely messages are carried.

While all of this is rather “small potatoes” in a single instance, these are considerations of mine. The biggest though is this—they die. And they do so for no particular reason than to fill my heart with joy for a moment or two and then sit on my kitchen table slowly losing their ability to maintain their cheery faces. This, in my opinion, is an equally devastating travesty.

flowers in a glass 
A bouquet of flowers may bring cheer for a moment or two, but ultimately they die. Photo By Angelique Hayne/Courtesy Flickr. 

As I gaze at them trying to soak up every ounce of their beauty while they still have life to give, I wonder about a more sustainable way to show a friend you love her, even if her mother doesn’t like her very much right now. A live plant came to mind. I do love those. However, my apartment is honestly so full of the beauties that I will be forced to buy a house in the near future to accommodate them. A bouquet of fruit is a lovely idea, but many of the same issues come into play.

How could I reach out to my friend and tell her thank you for supporting me through this rough patch without damaging the environment at the same time? And, in the future should I be on-the-ball enough to do such a thing for someone, what could I do that would show how much I care, and still care about the earth? Below are a few of the ideas I came up with.

pretty stones 
Turn beautiful stones into loving gifts. Photo By Suat Eman/Courtesy

Healthy chocolate and peanut butter treats: Mix organic cocoa powder, peanut butter and a sweetener of choice (I like to use Xylitol or Raw Honey). Press into cookie cutters and refrigerate. Go for a quick bike ride and deliver them to your friend.

Handmade cards: Gather your collection of magazines and find large blocks of color. Tear these out and use them to create designs on a piece of recycled cardboard. Use a paste of flour and water to attach them.

“Nature” jewelry: Take a hike—maybe even together!—and watch for small, interesting stones. Wrap it with wire and give to your friend as a pendant. Or, choose a piece of your own jewelry that you are done with, and pass it along.

I would love any more great ideas you have for eco-friendly, yet meaningful, replacements for flowers. Comment here to share your ideas!

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