Placeholder canvas
My Green Pod Logo

The Valentine’s Day floral rebellion

Jane Bradley, founder of Brook & Earl, explains why she won’t have a single red rose in her mindful floristry studio this Valentine’s Day
Jane Bradley, founder of Brook & Earl, with her back turned and a huge bouquet of red tulips cascading over her shoulder

This article first appeared in our ‘Love is all we need’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 February 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Think Valentine’s Day and it won’t be long before your mind settles on an image of a red rose; to many, a dozen of them will say ‘I love you’ like no other gesture on Earth.

In Greek mythology it is believed that the red rose was created by Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and the flower has been deeply entrenched in our history, culture and understanding of romance ever since.

When interest in floriography – the ‘language of flowers’ – grew in Victorian times, giving a red rose became the fashionable way to communicate love on Valentine’s Day.

The problem is that English roses bloom from March to June, meaning they miss February and the flurry of Valentine’s Day completely.

Roses and air miles

To satisfy demand, roses are flown to the UK from Kenya, Ethiopia and Latin America. In Colombia there are some fabulous Fair Trade growers with stringent conservation and management policies; they pride themselves on their low carbon footprint, but their roses still have to be flown to Britain – often via Holland, which clocks up even more air miles.

The question is, why fly flowers halfway round the world just to tell someone you love them?

The UK has some stunning and sustainable alternatives that still deliver the wow factor, which is why you won’t find a single red rose in our studio this Valentine’s Day.

An outdated tradition

To me the giving of red roses is outdated and makes no sense; it’s time to break the habit and start a new tradition that is kinder to the planet – and this year that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

I am looking at how I can create a more sustainable alternative by giving flowers that aren’t roses.

To me it’s about consciousness; my decisions may never be wholly perfect, but by making small, considered changes I will be helping to do my bit while providing a new, more sustainable option that will help other people to make a small change, too.

The new star of the show

This year at Brook & Earl it will be all about the tulip, and particularly ones grown in the UK.

Smith & Munson grows its stunning stems under glass in South Lincolnshire; with five generations of expertise, the family business certainly knows a thing or two about growing beautiful blooms.

Red tulips will take centre stage in our simple and understated bouquets, and their more contemporary sister – the white tulip – will also have a huge role to play.

If you’re a florist or simply buying flowers to communicate your love, this year you have the option to choose consciously and help to show your love for our beautiful planet as well.

Here's more related content

Join The Conversation

Leave a Reply

Here's More Ethical Home & Garden News & Features

  • All
  • EU
  • EVs
  • activism
  • air pollution
  • animal welfare
  • animals
  • app
  • arts
  • awards
  • battery
  • biodegradable
  • biodiversity
  • celebrity
  • circular
  • circular economy
  • citizen science
  • consumer
  • design
  • drinks
  • electric cars
  • emissions
  • energy
  • energy bills
  • environment
  • equality
  • ethical business
  • ethical gifts
  • ethical lifestyle
  • events
  • extreme weather
  • farming
  • food
  • fossil fuels
  • garden
  • gardening
  • gifts
  • greenwash
  • growing
  • hair care
  • health
  • heating
  • home
  • homel
  • homes
  • housing
  • kids
  • law
  • legal
  • legislation
  • litter
  • money
  • natural products
  • nature
  • net zero
  • oil
  • organic
  • packaging
  • plants
  • plastic
  • plastic pollution
  • plastic-free
  • plastics
  • policy
  • politics
  • pollution
  • recycle
  • recycled
  • recycling
  • renewables
  • rural
  • schools
  • shopping
  • skincare
  • society
  • solar
  • tech
  • trees
  • vegan
  • waste
  • water
  • wellbeing
  • women
  • work
  • zero waste