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Lessons in Sustainable and Eco-Flowers for Kids

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Flowers make us happy. That was the simple, yet very true remark a young flower enthusiast proudly stated during the educational and lively bouquet workshop hosted by Flowers for Kids and sponsored by the online florist, Organic Bouquet.

Robin Peñaherrera, an Ecuadorian-based flower farmer hosted the event (geared towards kids 6-12) as he broke down the importance of sustainable and environmentally friendly flower growing. There were no nodding eyes or glazed eyes for this presentation - held at the Manhattan Children'??s Theatre '?? as Peñaherrera kept us very engaged and interested through his interactive and humorous approach (I later learned he was once a comedian) in how to take care of, feed and arrange flowers.

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We also learned why roses have thorns (to protect them from other herbivores) and the secrets to arranging a bouquet. Peñaherrera taught us that a bouquet is generally made up of fillers (flowers that make a bouquet look full such baby'??s breath and asters); lines (flowers that give the bouquet height such as larkspurs); focals ('??featured flowers'? like roses and lilies); and greens (plants that make the bouquet appear '??earthy'? and natural.)

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Peñaherrera talking about wasps

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My favorite part of the event was learning about how to actually take care of a bouquet and roses (and no, it'??s not just about trimming the edges and adding water to a pot) so that they will look great for a longer amount of time. Of course, keeping flowers hydrated is key, but Peñaherrera also stated that flowers need food for energy and stated, like us, flowers enjoy lemonade.

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With the assistance of an eager volunteer he showed us how to make a super easy homemade flower food recipe (see below). You can also use plant food such as sachets sold by Organic Bouquet. It was also interesting to learn that flowers should never be cut outside of water (doing so is a like a paper cut to a flower, ouch!). It is recommended to use a rose cutter  (no, scratch that Peñaherrera says we need a rose cutter) and to cut flowers below the water line, which is much like a breath of fresh air. But, if you have to cut outside, Peñaherrera recommends following the five-second rule: '??cut in air and get into the water within five seconds.'? It was quite an exciting lesson in agriculture for children (and myself) where not only left with a stunning new bouquet but left excited to pass down some of these simple (and important) floral lessons to my daughter.

Homemade Flower Food Recipe 

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  • 1 quart of water
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of something sour (lemon juice or vinegar)

Fill a vase with fresh water. Add the sugar to the vase and then a flower. Stir. Add the sour component (lemons are preferred) and place the rest of the flowers in the vase. Cut the stems of the flowers (inside the vase) every other day to preserve freshness. With flower food, such as a sachet, cut the stems and change the water every five days. To preserve flowers, keep them away from direct sunlight, a draft, near fruit, or on a TV.

Serena Norr is a NYC-based writer/editor, soup-maker, and more importantly, a mama. You can read more soup recipes on her blog:

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