In Paris, ‘City of Love’, florists ask a thorny question on V-Day

Are roses really worth their ecological cost?

Most roses sold in France in the run-up to St Valentine’s Day have to be imported by air freight from countries such as Kenya, which supplies more than 35 per cent of fresh-cut roses and other flowers sold annually in the European Union |

Red roses on Valentine’s Day: What could be more romantic? Or ecologically harmful? if you ask a bunch of hard-headed florists in Paris.

Some florists in the ‘City of Love’ are trying to wean customers off roses because of their ecological cost.

Most roses sold in France in the run-up to St Valentine’s Day have to be imported by air freight from countries such as Kenya, which supplies more than 35 per cent of fresh-cut roses and other flowers sold annually in the European Union. This results carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

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Environmentally conscious florists say there are viable alternatives available locally. However, they face an uphill struggle, because the tradition of gifting red roses on St Valentine’s Day is so engrained in western cultures.

Hortense Harang, founder of an online flower shop called ‘Fleurs d’Ici’ – French for ‘Flowers from here’ – has been spearheading the campaign to wean people off roses, according to the Reuters news agency.

“Red roses is so 1950s,” she told Reuters. “Roses are a completely no-go this season because it doesn’t make sense basically to buy roses. Roses do not grow under our latitudes in this season.”

Her campaign has gathered support, Reuters said. “It’s not logical to have flowers from the other side of the planet if we can get them locally,” said Edith Besenfelder, 46, a florist.

Celine Argente, the 40-year-old owner of the Sylvine flower shop in Paris, said she had been encouraging clients to buy red tulips as a way of declaring their love. But despite that, her shop this week was packed with red roses. “It’s a classic which people can’t change from,” she said. “The red rose remains the flower for Valentine’s Day.”

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