04/23/2012 11:55 am ET Updated Jun 20, 2012

Green Flowers? Celebrate Earth Day Year Round With These Tips

Earth Day is a time to celebrate Mother Earth, who can often get overlooked when it comes to convenience and time. Let's take a moment to give back, and think about how you can make your flowers 'go green'. When you're getting married or throwing a party, ask your florist for these options. In any case, these tips are good to know for anytime of the year! This year there was freezing weather in Ecuador where most roses are imported from, and prices skyrocketed at the wholesale level by nearly double due to availability. Buying local and seasonal will save you money, and the planet. Be open to using substitutions to achieve the same look, as getting stuck on one type of flower may cost you more money in the long run.

Dry Them Out: Dried flowers are eco-friendly because you only have to buy them once. You can reuse them in various ways.There are some varieties that look exactly the same when they dry as they do alive, and I'm not talking about potpourri looking ones that you'd find in a country Bed and Breakfast. These are my personal favorites that will give you a lively look -- only you'll know that they're dried!

o Wildflower - Statice (purple, white, yellow)
o Modern - Craspedia (Billy Balls)
o Exotic - Coxcomb (yellow, magenta, orange, burgundy)
o Tropical - Sunset Safari (red)

Buy Green: When you are buying flowers, look on the wrapper for a label -- any label -- and you'll be off to a greener start. A label certification on the wrapper will help you to determine which flowers are eco-friendly -- look for one of the label listed below. While certification labels have become controversial due to looser standards and green-washing, they can still be better than nothing. Workers in foreign countries get sprayed all day long with pesticides that cover the flowers due to mass production. Look for these certifications:

o Veriflora
o CA Grown (if you live in CA)
o USDA Organic
o Fair Trade (One World Flowers provides these)
o Rainforest Alliance
o Farmer's Markets - Ask about their farm location and growing standards.
o Eufloria Flowers - This vendor sells wholesale to florists. The roses are grown in coconut fiber in California and the workers are given fair wages!

Get Creative: Cooking up a storm for a holiday? Preparing a bridal shower brunch for a friend? Use leftover produce as the main centerpieces! Have a great plant outside? Use it inside!

o Use whole or sliced fruits and vegetables, such as lemons, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and lentils to fill as vase up. Decorate with long-lasting orchids, such as dendrobiams or cymbidiums, by changing out the water in the water tube they come with.
o Having coconut cocktails? Use the emptied coconuts as vessels for your flowers. Cut off a few blooms from a branch outdoors.
o Do you live by some great foliage? Use shot glasses or candle votives as vases and place greens inside for a tropical look!

I always say, find inspiration in everything, whether it's a dress a bridesmaid is wearing, your favorite food, or a style of architecture that strikes your fancy. Use these as inspirations for your centerpieces, and you'll find ways to cut back on florals, or ways to incorporate them in a fun and unique way. Above all, be cognizant of the flowers you're buying. Buy green -- they'll also last a lot longer.

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