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Blooming Passion

Christy Ledebur’s Floral Journey Celebrating Nature & Sustainability

Christy Ledebur's journey into the world of flowers began in her childhood, where her love for gardening and flower arranging blossomed. She loved picking wildflowers and making arrangements at her country home. Then, when she was eleven, her mother gave her a French Perfume rose bush with the most beautiful pale-yellow roses with pink edging. She says, “It smelled heavenly. I would cut every rose that bloomed and either bring it in the house or give it away- it gave me so much joy.”


This love deepened as she dove into gardening and sustainable choices. She spent college summers with AmeriCorps on Buffalo’s Massachusetts Avenue Project, helping youth grow vegetables and learn about local food systems. Christy began growing her own urban vegetable garden. Christy says that as a culture, people are heading slowly but surely toward local food, with CSAs and farm markets becoming more prevalent, and with people beginning to understand more about where their food comes from. However, she says, people often don’t think to focus on local flowers.

Her affinity for Buffalo, coupled with her dedication to sustainability and seasonal blooms, led her to establish Nickel City Floral. The more she learned about the flower industry, the more she wanted to work with local, sustainable, seasonal offerings, keeping her focus on helping make a beautiful difference in her own community.


In her approx. 1/10-acre space, Christy grows fresh cut flowers during spring and summer. She explains her process as using closed loop resources, making her own compost or sourcing it from Buffalo’s Farmer Pirates, raising worms for vermicompost, avoiding as much plastic as possible with a zero-waste mentality. She also uses attic space at 5 Loaves Farm to dry her flowers, which allows her to utilize every stem and to continue her passion even in cold winters.


By partnering with nearby Five Loaves Farm, Christy helps add beauty and joy to the community. Her business model is similar to that of a farm CSA or subscription box, just with flowers instead of veggies. Customers choose from several options to buy a month or up to a whole season’s worth of bouquets. Each week they get to pick up a bouquet made with flowers that are at their peak at that time. By mixing native plants, perennials, and specialty annuals, Christy’s bouquets are ever-changing throughout the season and filled with fragrant, unique flowers not found in the grocery store. She also offers classes throughout the summer on flower arrangements, making flower crowns, and creating art from dried flowers. Check Nickel City Floral’s website and social media for upcoming events at Five Loaves Farm to learn more.


What is Sustainable Floristy?

Sustainable floristry is growing and harvesting beautiful blooms without the huge environmental and human resource impact typically associated with traditional florists. Referencing a Washington Post article on the topic, Christy says, “We want to bring a little beauty into our house, but at what cost?”

The article pointed out that nearly all imported cut flowers go through the same emissions-intensive journey — climate-controlled greenhouses, refrigerated trucks, and a long, chilled flight. And that doesn’t even mention the chemicals workers are exposed to. Many flowers are drenched in herbicides and fungicides before they even begin their journey to our florists or supermarkets.

After all I’ve learned, I would no longer want to bury my face and breathe deeply in a store-bought bouquet of flowers. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but unlike the cherished roses from my childhood, many store-bought roses don’t have much of a fragrance. That’s because it has been bred out of many commercial varieties in exchange for qualities that will withstand shipping and refrigeration.

I’m not saying that people should never buy flowers from a store, but I think that the true cost of those flowers is something we should carefully consider. This might sound crazy, but out of season flowers (in my mind) should be a rare luxury.

By choosing to not work with imported flowers, I watch what is blooming and harvest it at just the right moment. I don’t have to throw away massive amounts of plastic and packaging or work with gloves to protect my skin from pesticides and herbicides. 

Create Your Own Sustainable Arrangement With Locally Sourced, Seasonal Blooms

One. Try to buy from a local flower farm or a florist who uses locally grown flowers. To find locally-sourced flowers near you (or near the destination you’d like them delivered, such as to an out-of-state friend or family member), visit, and enter the desired zip code to find locally-sourced flowers.

Two. Be mindful of what is emerging locally – bring in branches from a budding tree or bush and try your hand at forcing the blooms by putting the branch in water and placing it in a sunny window. “Bringing in something blooming right now is a richer, more satisfying experience than bringing home a large bouquet from the store.” Don’t be afraid to go to your own backyard, especially for the filler and greenery. Even the most conventional vines and leaves can look amazing in a bouquet or arrangement. Take a walk around the block, but be sure to forage responsibly.

Three. Repurpose containers. Christy says, “There are so many beautiful things in the world, you don’t need to buy new. As part of my efforts to reduce waste, I don’t buy many new vases. I always search thrift stores for beautiful vessels or use what’s given to me.”

Four. Avoid floral foam products because they’re not biodegradable and dangerous chemicals from it reach our waterways. Instead, try these creative ways to give an arrangement structure and control where things stay:

  • Include branching stems within the arrangement.

  • Use clear floral tape to make a tic-tac-toe horizontal grid across the top of the vase to help keep everything in place.

  • If doing a larger structured arrangement, ball up and tape in place chicken wire so the stems have a place to stick into, gives great structure.

Five. Consider using dried flowers to add color to your life in winter. Dried flowers are making a comeback. Unlike the dyed eucalyptus swags from the 80s and 90s, dried flowers are colorful, natural, and a zero-waste alternative to fake flowers. Dried flowers are even becoming more popular at weddings for a more lasting floral touch. “I use dried flowers to make wreaths, tapestries, and flower crowns (check out Nickel City Floral at the Buffalo Botanical Garden’s Fairy Fest (June 15, 2024). 


Christy’s Favorite Edible Flowers:

  • Pansy- neutral taste, endlessly colorful and patterns

  • Nasturtium- spicy – so strong, don’t put on desserts

  • Borage- Lemony cucumber taste

  • Stock- spicy clove flavor

"Favorites with my kids are edible flower ice cubes and pressing edible flowers into cookies or the frosting on top. While edible flowers are the easiest way to decorate a cake, you MUST use fresh, local, preferably organic flowers. Otherwise, even edible flowers may be laden with pesticides."

- For more tips & inspiration follow @nickelcityfloral on Instagram -


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