Mid-Atlantic

February, 2009
Regional Report

Enjoy Valentine's Day Plants Aplenty

Take advantage of pre- AND post-Valentine sales to treat yourself, those you love AND those you like --- to blooming fun. A flowery tease and "green" boost to remind that spring's just around the corner. Give an enticing orchid, fragrant gardenia or jasmine, tender hydrangea or clematis that will be blossoming weeks after a rose bouquet is crispy brown.

Talk About, Search Out, and Support VeriFlora-certified Cut Flowers

There's a way to ensure the flowers and plants you buy are safe for you and your family AND are grown in an environmentally sound way with fair labor practices. Ask your florist and flower supplier about the VeriFlora Certification. The VC Sustainably Grown label indicates flowers and potted plants have been produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and meet the highest standards for freshness and quality as per the Scientific Certification System.

Think Twice About Tossing Commercial Cut Flowers in the Compost

Though they brighten our winter days, many commercially grown cut roses, lilies, mums, and Gerber daisies are treated with pesticides and fungicides. They look perfect. They run the gamut pricewise -- from expensive to surprisingly cheap. They bring good cheer and are often hard to resist. In this case, beauty and low cost come with a chemical price. That which kills insects, fungi, bugs isn't good for us either. After enjoying the flowers in the vase, discard where residual chemicals on leaves, petals, and stems won't persist.

Volunteer for Behind-The-Scenes Horticultural Excitement

Spring flower shows, garden club sales, plant society events, public and private garden, park, and arboretum programs are surprising and fun opportunities to lend a hand, connect, grow, and enjoy. Inspecting plants, tidying exhibits, shadowing judges, sharing hort knowledge -- what better ways to get to know folks of like mind and learn the latest.

Consider Joining a Local CSA

How about healthy, fresh-from-the garden veggies and fruits? Specialty cheeses, eggs nearly warm from the coup, and hormone/antibiotic-free meat -- Community Supported Agriculture benefits you and your family, the farmer and farmer's family mutually in different ways. In a CSA, participants purchase shares -- seasonal or monthly financial pledges -- to support a farm operation. The farmer and often the farmer's family supply weekly deliveries of freshly harvested produce, custom-made dairy products, or hormone/antibiotic-free meats. The process creates and supports communities. Organic CSAs have environmental benefits including building a sustainable food system and a healthier planet.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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