Typically, my Q&A features have me “in step” with interesting business and PR figures, but given today’s special guest, I thought “bloom” to be much more appropriate. Before moving to New Mexico, Carole Aine Langrall lived and worked in Baltimore, MD, where she was noted in 2000 and 2006 as Baltimore’s Best Florist (City Paper) and Floral Designer (Baltimore Magazine), respectively. She’s a noted flower/garden blogger for zoomdune.com, columnist for THE NEW MEXICAN, and also heads up the Neglected Beauty project. With Earth Day upon us, I thought I’d chat with Carole about what she does to promote this important event…
Carole, you’re known as the “Flower Spy.” Tell us a little about your background and your interest in all things floral.
I have been in the floral industry since the early 90’s, starting in wholesale where I represented several South American flower farms and wholesalers in Washington, D.C. I learned a lot about floriculture and care for the fresh cut product. I later worked at a high end floral studio-this time, I learned about the retail and design aspect of the business. I loved it so much I started a floral design studio in Baltimore, MD in 1996 called, A Garden of Earthly Delights.
I specialized in natural, garden inspired designs with the goal to use as much locally grown product as I could get-which wasn’t easy back then. Due to the popularity of South American farms, the buying competition became fierce, with many American flower farms going out of business. I ended up growing about 70% of the greens we used from May- November.
We recycled almost everything– from containers to dead flowers that would get re-used in holiday and seasonal designs. I guess you could say we were pretty sustainable early on. The Flower Spy name came from a friend on a road trip who watched me spying anything interesting that was growing along the highway. I made him stop to cut wildflowers too many times to count!
This Wed., April 22nd, is Earth Day. How have you integrated Earth Day into your past articles and columns?
I always tell my readers to at least take the time and incorporate something from nature into their day. People are so busy these days and the economy is still tricky. Planting a tree or garden might not be affordable, time wise or financially, but there are other ways to honor Mother Earth like taking a walk in the woods, visiting a public garden, buying fresh cut flowers or a spring plant at a garden center, playing with your children outside and showing them the beauty that is the outdoors– from the sky to the soil. Or get involved with a park or water cleanup project.
The most important thing I believe any of us can do is be appreciative of our beautiful earth and get outside for at least an hour and say “thank you.”
Why in your opinion is Earth Day important? How do you go about promoting Earth Day?
It’s important because it teaches people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures the value and importance of the environment. Too many people take nature for granted, and slowly, as we’ve seen with global warming and man-made disasters, it’s going away—from ice glaciers melting to wildlife becoming extinct– we all have to take responsibility in caring for our environment and playing a part in healing it.
Do you use social media in promoting your floral efforts and if so, in what ways?
Yes, I have a website: Flowerspy.com and I Twitter https://twitter.com/NeglectedBeauty. I also have a Facebook page for my floral design studio, A Garden of Earthly Delights, which I need to spend more time on.
How important do you think public relations is in raising awareness about the environment?
It’s huge; however, it works both ways. Big oil companies and industries that are known to harm the environment have big money and lobbyists, which means they have big PR firms working against the environment. It doesn’t always get the help it needs, but there seems to be more support and attention towards the good cause. At least I hope so.
Anything you’d like to add?
Get involved with things that grow! No matter if it’s Earth Day or any day. Take a Master Gardener class, a floral design class, a landscaping class or plant your own garden for herbs, vegetables or flowers. It doesn’t matter if you’re in an apartment or house that has a garden plot—you can create your own beauty wherever you live. That is a great way to honor the Earth.