COURTESY OF NATALIE WU
Local Color Flowers offers flower arranging classes and sells bouquets of locally-sourced flowers.
Are you looking to beautify your home? Have you always wanted to learn floral arrangement? Do you want to support local businesses? If the answer to any of questions is “yeah!” then be sure to stop by Local Color Flowers.
Local Color Flowers is located on 3100 Brentwood Ave. It’s only a few blocks from the part of St. Paul Street by Homewood Campus, near the Waverly Farmers Market. The walk takes you through quiet neighborhoods full of colorful houses and blossoming trees.
Local Color Flowers is a chic, homey space. It’s wide, open, and full of fun artwork and decoration. I sat down with owner Ellen Frost, and she explained how Local Color Flowers got started and why it’s unique.
“Local Color Flowers is unique in the floral world in that we source all of our flowers locally,” she said. “Most traditional florists [source] from more conventional farms that are mostly in South America, including countries like Ecuador and Colombia. About 80 percent of the flowers sold in the United States come from those countries. We’re different in that we source all of flowers from farms within 100 miles of Baltimore.”
Imported flowers may also be grown and cut using unethical labor practices in their original countries. There’s a chance the flower bouquet you bought in a grocery store was cut by children or abused workers in South America.
Contrast that with the Local Color Flowers business model. Most of Local Color Flowers products come from family farms.
“They’re all farmers that are people we know and people we care about and people we interact with socially and for business, so the connection is different too than buying from a wholesaler,” Frost said.
Conventional, imported flowers also have a large environmental impact. The long distance they travel gives these small flowers a big carbon footprint. That isn’t the case with Local Color Flowers. Frost noted that they are more environmentally-friendly than conventional flowers in more than one way.
“For the most part, [our farmers] are either growing 100 percent organic or using organic practices within their farms,” she said.
I believe consumers have a responsibility to ensure their consumption doesn’t harm others and to minimize the environmental and social toll of their habits. I frequently purchase flowers and bouquets as gifts, but until I heard of Local Color Flowers, I had no idea what impact my actions were having in far away communities. However, I can rest assured that any bouquets bought from Local Color Flowers empowers farmers and families while minimizing ecological impact.
In addition to ensuring environmental and social responsibility, Local Color Flowers tries to create a sense of community with its customers by providing a variety of activities and classes.
Every Wednesday night from 4-8 p.m., Local Color Flowers offers an open studio. Anyone can come in and make their own floral arrangements. A list of the shop’s other classes are available on its website. These classes are taught by reputable instructors and are beginner-friendly. On Saturdays, locals often stop by on their way to or from the Waverly Farmers Market to sit down, eat breakfast and chat with others.
Local Color Flowers is open year-round. Flowers come from winter growers who use greenhouses, heated tunnels and more. The flowers change seasonally and weekly. If you go to the shop regularly for these activities, you’ll be guaranteed a change of scenery.
“There’s usually not a week that looks exactly the same as the week before, which is exciting in the flower world,” Frost said. “You never get bored. You never get tired. Like the seasons, you look forward to that change.”
Frost noted that it is currently peak tulip and ranunculus season, and in two to three weeks peonies will start blooming.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by the variety of services Local Color Flowers offers, from wedding bouquet consultation to special events and more. It was a very welcoming environment and wonderful escape from campus. I’ll be sure to frequent the space regularly given how close it is, and I encourage everyone who has a bit of time on their hands to do the same.