Love it or hate it: Flowers

Ar 180109879
Adobe Stock
Ar 180109879
Adobe Stock

Love It Some odd years back, I hated the idea of giving or getting flowers. It seemed an outdated version of romance that was a quick fix of a gift instead of a well-thought-out one. Anyone who truly knew me would get me an Edward Gorey book that would last the ages, right? Not a dead-in-10-days bouquet.

But, I have come around. As the years go by, my appreciation for the fleeting heightens. The days are slow, but the years are fast. I want to make my moments last. I’ll take a bloom, hang it, dry it, and keep it. The side of my refrigerator went witchy as I gathered memories – dried lavender from a graveyard I loved in Iowa, lilacs put in my tip jar at a pub job, an enormous thistle picked the first day I felt whole again after my lover left Colorado.

Flowers are a fine thing, the earth’s laughter, if you believe Emerson. What I realize now is that you can gift them to yourself, for free, and you can preserve them as long as you want that particular memory.

Patty TempletonHate itWhen I think of the gift of flowers, I think of the comedian Demetri Martin, who said, “I think it’s weird when you give someone flowers ... Really you’re saying ‘Here you go; now watch these die.’”

Sure, there’s that patch of time where these bright, colorful kind-of-alive things freshen up your living space. Until they begin to decay slowly in front of your eyes. That and all the allergens they offer your once-unclogged respiratory system.

Beyond the death and rot, there’s the vast environmental impact. According to an article in the Washington Post, “Up to 80 percent of the 5.6 billion stems of flowers sold in the United States each year are imported. Of those, 93 percent,” are grown in Columbia or Ecuador. What does this mean? It means that amazing soon-dead gift you gave Mom for Mother’s Day is doused with pesticides and herbicides – some banned outright in the U.S. – which wreak havoc on the lives of flower workers. It means massive amounts of energy growing, storing, and shipping.

All so loved ones can watch some flowers die.

David Holub