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This bouquet features three types of Oregon-grown roses: ‘Prestige’ red roses, ‘Black Baccara’ wine-red roses, and ‘Gracia’ pink spray roses. Plus, some multiflora rose hips and rosemary foliage for a truly American Valentine’s Day bouquet.

by Debra Prinzing 


Post a comment here about why American-grown flowers are important to you! You might just win one dozen gorgeous roses from Oregon or California! We have rose donations from Eufloria Flowers and Peterkort Roses. Two winners will be selected by 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, February 11th. Both will win roses as well as a signed copy of Slow Flowers, my new book.

Slow Flowers: Four Seasons of Locally Grown Bouquets, from the Garden, Meadow and Farm (St. Lynn’s Press, 2013)

I created the bouquet you see here for my new book, Slow Flowers, a 52-week personal floral design project in which I used only what I could cut in my own yard or source from a local flower farmer. This Valentine’s Day arrangement features three types of gorgeous Oregon-grown roses, which I’ve paired with sprigs of rosemary from my garden and delicate hips. It may not be that 36-inch-long box of imported roses with over-large flower heads and thick, rigid stems, but my bouquet is sweeter, more feminine, lightly fragrant – and it has a home-grown story to tell.

I hope these roses help illustrate why you should care about supporting America’s small but awesome rose farms rather than caving into the marketing onslaught of cheap, imported roses.

The 50 Mile Bouquet features a third-generation rose farm called Peterkort Roses in a chapter entitled “The Last Rose Grower in Oregon.” How tragic that there is only one rose farm left in Portland, which is also known as “The City of Roses.” Peterkort supplies Northwest floral designers with a polychromatic spectrum of beautiful, sustainably-grown, hybrid tea roses and spray roses.

One state to the south, in California, there are several established rose farmers working hard to keep America’s cut roses alive and well. That should come as no surprise, since California, after all, gave us the Pasadena Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl. But I’ll save my commentary on those events for another post.


When it comes to battling for the heart and wallet of the American consumer, I would argue that the floral playing field is anything but level. Television commercials by Teleflora were surprisingly absent from last Sunday’s Super Bowl. Maybe they got priced out by the competition, but in past years, those floral wire service operations have spent millions to advertise during the annual football extravaganza.

I used to feel sorry for unlucky husbands and boyfriends who spent hours in their recliners trying to enjoy what is arguably the biggest professional sports event of the year, while also being assaulted by endless rose commercials.

Roses-for-Valentine’s-Day ads are evident in my local newspaper; they pop up every time I log onto the Web — and interrupt my cable viewing. We can’t seem to avoid from those dial-a-florist marketers who have one message: True love can only be attained if you order one (or more) dozen, perfectly red, long-stemmed roses to send your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

But sadly, those roses are going to be imported (less than 3% of roses sold are grown domestically) . . . from a very long distance. They were most likely flown in by a dedicated cargo plane from South America. In fact, retailers like Whole Foods have the audacity to boast that they are importing “fair trade” roses from Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica.

For a company that spends so much time promoting the idea of locally-sourced food, this is truly upsetting.

On a positive note, I have met and interviewed numerous Whole Foods floral buyers who do source locally from growers in their area (and I have also visited those talented flower growers who produce and sell tens of thousands of stems to Whole Foods in their own communities each year).

But when it comes to roses, I believe Whole Foods is missing a huge opportunity to invest in American family rose farms and I know I’m not alone. Just look at all the consumers responding to this recent Valentine’s Day blog post promotion by Whole Foods for Whole Trade Roses. It may be too late for Whole Foods to make a change this Valentine’s Day, but there is still time for you to make your voice heard on this issue, just leave a comment!


Peterkort’s just-picked hybrid teas – American grown and totally beautiful.

What if retailers instead put their dollars into developing ties (and buying relationships) with American rose farmers?

Why isn’t this happening? Why can’t we find domestic cut roses at the supermarket, at the big-boxes, and in our hometown flower shops? I’ll tell you what I think. Those sellers claim that there isn’t enough supply of American roses to satisfy demand. But actually I think there is too much cynicism and apathy surrounding the economics of flowers. We’ve been conditioned to want things “cheap” at all costs. In doing so, we have driven down the price of everything. We have practically driven farmers out of the U.S.

I was encouraged recently when Kasey Cronquist, CEO and Ambassador for the California Cut Flower Commission, and a fellow advocate for domestic flowers, shared results from a Boston Consulting Group report. According to the recent study, “over 80% of Americans are willing to pay more for Made-in-USA products, 93% of whom say it’s because they want to keep jobs in the USA.”

If this is true, I hope Whole Foods is listening. Heck, even Walmart recently announced plans to spend $50 billion on American-made products over the next decade. Will that commitment involve supporting our American flower farmers? It should, but we’ll see. When more and more consumers ask for American flowers, retailers have to take notice and respond.


Enlightened rose-givers, lend me your ears. We Americans associate February 14th and true love with roses, right? Make it real; make it authentic.

Can we show our love by giving our sweetheart a bouquet of American-grown roses? There are some wonderful domestic rose sources — greenhouses and growing fields — in Oregon and California. So yes, even in February, when our own gardens are unlikely to produce roses, we can ask our florist to order American-grown ones.

It is possible to send eco-conscious love (in the form of American roses).

Here are links to American-grown flowers you can order for Valentine’s Day gift-giving:

California Blooms is an online retailer that exclusively sells only Eufloria’s roses (no imports). California Organic Flowers is an online retailer that sells beautiful organic flowers. For Valentine’s Day, they are offering a mixed bouquet of anemones, a mixed bouquet of Tazetta narcissus and several other cool field-grown bouquets.

Eco-Conscious Floral Designers

In San Francisco, order from Farm Girl Flowers or Lila B. Floral & Events.

In New York, order from NYC Farm Chic Flowers.

In Seattle, order from TerraBella Flowers or Marigold and Mint.

Post other suggestions here! We need to share our best sources with other fans of locally-grown & designed flowers. 

P.S.: If your local florist says, “I can’t find American-grown roses,” then give him/her this list of growers:

  • Dramm & Echter – www.drammechter.com
  • Rose Story Farm – www.rosestoryfarm.com
  • California Pajarosa – www.pajarosa.com
  • Green Valley Floral – www.greenvalleyfloral.com
  • Koch California – www.kochcalifornia.com
  • Eufloria Flowers – www.eufloriaflowers.com
  • Neve Brothers – www.nevebros.net
  • Myriad Flowers – www.myriadflowers.com
  • Peterkort Roses – www.peterkortroses.com

Rose Hips:

  • Sun Valley – www.thesunvalleygroup.com
  • CamFlor – www.camflor.com

Fresh, yummy, fragrant and grown on an American rose farm!



Posted by

on February 7, 2013 at 5:34 am, in the category Books, Guest Rants, It’s the Plants, Darling, Taking Your Gardening Dollar, What’s Happening.

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  1. Rachel

    6th June 2016 at 4:11 pm

    When I was in high school I worked at a flower shop that regularly received roses from south america. While unpacking these flowers the skin on my hands would become red and itchy due to what ever they sprayed on them to keep them fresh. I would love some home grown flowers!

  2. Voorhees

    4th October 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you for this article. I had not really thought about where my flowers come from when I am purchasing them at my local store. I will certainly keep this in mind when I am shopping for flowers.

  3. Karen

    17th November 2016 at 11:50 am

    American-grown flowers are just as important as American-grown vegetables. I opt for US produce when I shop. I would gladly pay a little more to know my flowers were produced in the States and that I am supporting local agriculture/small business. It is my dream to own a cut-flower farm. One day!

  4. jude

    28th November 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Locally grown means less pollution for transport and more open space safe from developers.

  5. Amanda

    29th November 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Beautiful! American grown flowers are important to me because I want Americans to grow flowers. Gardening for feeding the body and soul used to be an integral part of our culture, and it should be again.

  6. Amanda Paige

    30th November 2016 at 5:14 am

    American grown flowers are important to me because I love to buy local. Why waste fuel shipping in from overseas when we can grow locally here!!. I am adding these to my list to buy from!

  7. Deborah Heckert

    30th November 2016 at 7:12 am

    I love in the summertime to hit the local farm stands and grab a bunch of locally-grown flowers. The farmers around here really produce some beautiful things! Combined with odds and ends scavenged from the garden and the woods, it is easy to come up with something pretty, if quirky!

  8. Lizabeth

    30th November 2016 at 8:41 am

    Will be requesting my library to get your book – the photo of the arrangement is gorgeous! And will be researching a place that uses American grown flowers for my mom’s 80th birthday. And yes, I’d be willing to pay more for them

  9. Sandra Knauf

    30th November 2016 at 9:53 am

    That is a gorgeous homemade bouquet! I would chose it over the sterile-looking bouquets from most florists ANY day.

  10. Liza

    30th November 2016 at 11:05 am

    “Made in America” is so important in every other facet of life – why not roses? It just makes sense. Thank you for this article – although I grow typical American wildflowers like coneflower or aster, and I have a couple rosebushes in my yard (Republic of Texas and Dortmund from the Antique Rose Emporium in Luckenbach, TX) store-bought roses are traditionally a go-to for purchases for others and it would certainly be nice if they were American grown. It makes gifts that much more special!

  11. Liza

    30th November 2016 at 11:32 am

    Brenham, TX – not Luckenbach! I need more coffee. Anyway:https://www.antiqueroseemporium.com/

  12. Susan INPH

    30th November 2016 at 12:02 pm

    It would be interesting to visit the greenhouses in California and Oregon. I would bet most locals don’t even know about them. People always talk about growing local veg. Good point that we should start talking about the flowers, too.

  13. Sophia

    1st December 2016 at 12:41 am

    Great post Debra! I believe education is key to changing the mind set of American consumers. And, I agree that wholesalers need to do a better job about educating their respective community. There is this longstanding tradition that commercial greenhouses have always been off limits, and they must change their ways in order to help educate the general population. The process won’t work if everyone doesn’t participate. Studio tours, open houses, and behind-the-scene visits have already proven successful for other segments of business and there is no reason why greenhouses can’t do the same. In today’s competitive marketplace, I think it’s essential to generate new business and engage the casual consumer. The extra effort and money spent on holding monthly or quarterly events might not be immediately felt, but will be down the road if everyone is on board with the same goal of changing the way consumers shop for flowers.

  14. Dona Crawford

    1st December 2016 at 6:41 am

    American grown roses=American grown LOVE. When my love gets me roses from our local florist, (her roses are USA) they last for weeks, not hours.

  15. Lisa Huff

    1st December 2016 at 7:49 am

    American grown roses support the American economy. It’s also puts a smaller carbon footprint when your flowers are delivered from within the states and not flown in from other countries. American grown flowers are good for our economy and our environment.

  16. Andrea Clemens

    1st December 2016 at 10:04 am

    This article is a breath of fresh air for me! Thank you It is our time to start educating the public about the earth conscious choices that we do have. You can purchase domestically grown flowers on several websites from growers in Oregon and California. Folks still don’t realize or even want to think about all of the chemicals that are enveloping the beautiful stems in over 80% of the flowers in the fresh market. An act of love is really shown when you give your valentine fresh, pesticide-free blooms! I can’t wait to see how our revolution unfolds…

  17. Linda Lehmusvirta

    1st December 2016 at 11:25 am

    What a wonderful story! I’m sure most people don’t even think about it at all. I appreciate your links and as always, your narrative that pulls us right in with you. What I really want is for you to come to my house and design a bouquet like that. Oh my!

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