She often repeated it to you: “This year, don’t forget me.” It is that at the beginning of March, the first weekend of the month precisely, it is customary to wish a happy birthday to grandma. At least for a good thirty years. Because Grandmother’s Day does not belong to the religious calendar or to the French institutional calendar. Purely marketing, it was initiated in 1987 by Café Grand’Mère (now owned by Jacobs Douwe Egberts) to promote the image of the northern brand. Before entering into mores and becoming a business meeting as unavoidable – for merchants – as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
And if there is one trade that benefits from it, it is that of the flower, boosted on this occasion. You only have to look at the great reinforcement of advertisements that the sector deploys to praise the timeless qualities of a bouquet to be sure. But choosing the floral option to please an ancestor can be a headache for those who care about their ecological footprint. Already because it is difficult to know the origin of cut flowers – even if professionals are trying to improve their traceability. Remember that 85% of the rods sold in France are imported. Most of them travel from the Netherlands, a hub for the vegetable trade, but also from Kenya, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Colombia.
Seasonal and short circuit
However, these roses, tulips and other gladioli are also grown in heated greenhouses, with many chemical inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.), and picked up by precarious workers. Then, because even in our regions, we produce flowers intensively, without worrying about the seasonality of plant species. The parade, for those who want an ecological bouquet (or at least a little more virtuous), therefore consists in buying seasonal, short circuit or certified plants – “flowers of France” or fair trade in particular. For this, the first instinct is to subject your florist to the question by asking him what are the specimens of the moment.
And if he replies that he has roses in stock at the end of winter, the period of mimosas, buttercups, anemones or camellias, that’s a bad sign. To offer local flowers, apart from the labeled stems – which do not guarantee organic flowers –, it is then possible to turn to artisans and producers engaged in the slow flower. These are, for example, members of the Collectif de la fleur française, who promise at least 50% local and seasonal flowers in their shop, or online sales platforms (Fleurs d’ici, Monsieur Marguerite, etc.) specializing in eco-responsible bouquets of the same ilk. It is also a way of supporting the sector of some 3,000 French horticulturists, whose number has continued to decline over the past thirty years.