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Today, ladies look forward to a lusciously, indulgent day of gifts. On the other hand, men dread the forseeable emptiness of their wallet. The iconic red rose has become a well-defined and highly commercialised symbol of Valentine’s Day, but are the thorns in your roses doing more harm than good?


An unhealthy cut-flower industry


Every year, Valentine’s Day brings an unhealthy surge in demand for roses for the cut-flower industry. This has pressured local florists to cut corners and engage in global importation just to satisfy customer demands on Valentine’s Day.
According to the World Resources Institute (2016), the cut-flower industry now stands at an estimated US$33 billion, with the Netherlands, United States and Japan accounting for half of the world’s floriculture trade. As demand continues to grow, production has continued to shift towards low-cost labour countries like Columbia, Kenya, Ecuador and Ethiopia. So yes, it is likely that the roses you are buying this Valentine’s Day are not locally grown. So what are the problems with this?


Harm to the environment


According to the World Resources Institute (2016), the environmental implications of a highly commercialised cut-flower industry are significant. Interestingly, although flowers carry more pesticides than that allowed on food, they are completely exempted from regulations on pesticide residues. Why? Because they are not classified as “edible crops” (WRI, 2016). Channel 10 didn't warn this 2016 Bachelor contestant...

Hence, with a lack of industry regulation and the underlying need for producers to maintain a short-cycle production of roses for Valentine’s Day, it is not surprising to discover an increasingly widespread use of agrochemicals. Overall, this having a very negative effect on our air, soil and water supply.

Harm to the environment and potentially your relationship?


I personally view red roses, chocolate and champagne at a candle-lit dinner as the stereotypical symbols of ‘love’ on Valentine’s Day. But if love presupposes the idea that someone holds a fundamentally unique and special connection with another person, why are men around the world sticking to such rigid conformity?  Don’t get me wrong, I love my flowers, I love my chocolate, and I definitely don’t mind a glass of Moët at dinner, but the thought of being given the same thing as every other girl, doesn’t sit comfortably with me at all. How is my ‘unique and special’ connection with my partner, any different to yours?
Am I right in saying that the iconic red rose now suddenly seems far less appealing? The commercialisation of red roses has provoked the emergence of an exploitive cut-flower industry, sparked the uncontrolled use of pesticides, and in spite of contrary efforts, made girls feel rather ordinary.


Time to look at some alternatives!


Make her day with a paper rose bouquet!


Just as Riatta prides itself on providing eco-friendly health and beauty product alternatives, I guarantee Karyn Pannowitz from the Paper Rose Florist in Gosford will provide you with a much more unique and sustainable substitute to the traditional rose bouquet. I’m already hooked at the thought of receiving beautifully, hand-crafted paper roses this Valentine’s Day, but this list of benefits is bound to persuade you.

What I love about the Paper Rose Florist is that Karyn makes her paper blooms from 100% recycled material. She mentions using old books, poems, sheets of music, and even a client’s favourite novel. What a beautiful personal touch and so relevant for Valentine’s Day! Karyn also allows you to customise your bouquet by choosing from an extensive colour paper and flower variety. If your love is timeless, why not swap to a timeless paper rose alternative this Valentine’s Day?

Go local, buy Native!


Now if fresh flowers are still your go-to gift, you must make a visit to Piccolo Pear in East Gosford this Valentine’s Day. Personally, I have always preferred native flower bouquets to fresh flower bouquets. Yes, I am a little less conventional, but I do find native flowers so aesthetically artistic and textural. What I love about Piccolo Pear is that they show so much support for the local native flower grower industry. Like Riatta, they also value the importance of minimising environmental impact.

Nina Hufnus from Piccolo Pear says the benefits of using locally grown natives over red roses are tenfold. As native flowers are indigenous to the land, they are so much easier to cultivate and grow, as opposed to red roses which are an introduced species and a very intensive plant to farm. Native flowers also require less plant food, water and insecticides, meaning they are much kinder to our ecosystem. Most importantly, native flowers also last longer than roses, which typically last one week. Yet they ironically remain the “symbol of love” on Valentine’s day!

The love you share with your partner is unique and special, so why not swap the traditional red rose for an eco-friendly alternative. The thorns in your roses are not as valuable as you think.


The Paper Rose Florist
Website: http://thepaperroseflorist.com.au
FB: https://www.facebook.com/ThePaperRoseFlorist/
IG: @thepaperroseflorist
Twitter: @paperoseflorist
Etsy: ThePaperRoseFlorist

Piccolo Pear
Website: http://www.piccolopear.com.au
FB: https://www.facebook.com/piccolopear/
IG: @piccolopear