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3 Simple Alternatives to the Gift of Cut Flowers

3 Simple Alternatives to the Gift of Cut Flowers

If  you want to be a better eco consumer, but still want to share commercial love on Valentine's Day, here are 3 tips to give a gift that lasts.

Cut flowers die quickly and cost an awful lot of resources to make. Here are 3 simple and beautiful ways to say I love you and add value to the planet and the one you love at the same time. 

1. Keep the plant (and the love) alive

The obvious alternative is to consider a living plant over cut stems but some advice - know your product. Potted plants don’t have the straight out win over cut flowers. Knowing the supply chain again should be high on your list of purchase decisions. Also resist the urge to buy just for colour or aesthetics – those African Violets at the supermarket will need some very specific care if they are to keep looking that good once they are at home. 

Consider a fruit-bearing plant beyond ornamentals. For the inflated cost of a dozen red roses at Valentine’s Day you can easily buy a substantial live plant. And the options are huge, varied and some are surprisingly cool.

A 'Fruit Salad Tree’ is a term coined by grower Kerry West 28 years ago to describe her and husband James’ grafted trees that grow up to six different types of fruit all on the one tree. They are multi-grafted trees with different fruits from the same family grafted together on the one tree. All the fruits retain their own characteristics like flavour, appearance and ripening times. Fruit Salad Trees offer a wonderfully romantic scenario where both people in a relationship can enjoy their own favourite fruits on one tree! The benefits of grafted fruit trees are many, particularly for those with limited space such as balcony gardens – two trees in one and less water to maintain!

Hailing from the mid north coast of New South Wales, family business Fruit Salad Trees provide a wide range of these beautiful artisan trees and eco-consumers have a very clear picture of their provenance.

“All of our grafted fruit trees are handcrafted with love here at our nursery in Rollands Plains, where they are watered with naturally sourced river water, and fertilised with eco-friendly materials,” says Operations Manager Dane West, son of Kerry and James.

“Over 90% of our pesticides and herbicides are eco-friendly too. Lady beetles in our nursery keep the pests at bay, and we continually research and improve our practices to be more and more sustainable,” added Dane.

This year, Fruit Salad Trees decided to step away from a dedicated pre-Valentine’s Day marketing campaign opting instead to gift free Australia-wide shipping to all orders of two trees or more, placed on Valentine's Day (Use promo code SHARETHELOVE). The idea is that you choose your plant or plants together on the day instead of worrying about whether your purchase will arrive on time in the Valentine’s Day rush. Slow gifting, if you will.  

“Valentine's Day to us is about all types of love for all people. Our Fruit Salad Trees are the perfect way to plant some love, by giving the gift that will keep on giving,” said Marketing Manager Emma Walker. 

The website will help you decide what trees are suitable for your particular climate and there is an incredible amount of post-purchase support, such as ongoing seasonal guides and forums for you to ask any questions once the tree is ensconced in your Valentine’s garden.

2. Go Abstract 

Extend the art of gifting by gifting art, specifically botanical art.  Why not support an artist this February and bring flowers into the home in a different way?  Artists such as botanical artist Nicole Crosswell can produce beautiful pieces that can be loved and appreciated well beyond Valentine’s Day. 

The beauty of working directly with an artist (apart from the sheer enjoyment of engaging with creative people) is that you can work together to set a budget and determine the subject matter. So if your Valentine loves a particular flower, a botanical artist can replicate that for you and would probably be grateful for the new varieties of subject matter rather than just the obvious clichéd roses.

“I recently completed some works as 40th birthday gifts for woman who loved paper daisies, so that is an incredibly intimate and personal commission. A reflection of a person’s true inner self,” said Nicole.

For those who baulk at commissioned art because they feel it has to be displayed for all and sundry to admire, Nicole’s advice to them is to rethink how we appreciate art.

“Don’t necessarily think about displaying art in traditional ways - not everything has to hang on a wall,” says Nicole. “Small artworks are inherently more intimate and look great nestled with books in bookshelves, or just sitting with your favourite things.”

3. Get Crafty

We can enjoy flowers in a myriad of ways without the need to stand them in a vase on display. Take a leaf, or even petal, out of the amazing floral sculptor  Tiffanie Turner’s book. Literally.

Her beautiful guide to making paper flowers is the perfect present for the crafty Valentine in your life, and adds a knowledge acquisition bent to your gift. 

Tiffanie’s work is truly high art.  Her flower installations can measure over a metre wide and she is hyper-generous in her sharing of how to replicate her work in this beautiful book and now you can share it with someone you love and give one less bunch of cut flowers this year. 

Images: Trader's own images

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