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Firms keep florists going

Flowers are arguably the next best thing after music for use on all occasions. They  can be used to show happiness, compassion, love, sadness or simply light up a dull room. In fact, we use them to express all emotions. However, finding a city dweller with a bunch walking on the street is rare.

James Mungai who has been selling flowers at the City Market for 20 years said to make money, most florists mainly rely on office deliveries.

A beautiful flower stand arrangement will go for Sh2,500 offsetting the low individual stems sales.

According to Mungai, many people will only buy flowers for particular occasions, especially Valentine and Mothers’ days.

James Wainaina, a Kilimani resident said the reason he doesn’t buy flowers for his girlfriend or his mother was the prohibitive cost, adding that a rose went for as much as Sh100.

“That is a misconception borne from the Valentine’s Day. At that time, demand is high and the prices shoot up. Right now, a rose stem goes for only Sh20. I think anybody can afford that,” says Mungai.

However, deliveries to funerals, women who have just had babies, churches, birthdays and the occasional huge wedding orders keep the florists in business.

Besides roses, the florists sell chrysanthemums (also known as mum’s flowers), birds of paradise, spray roses and statis among others.

The roses, bought from as far away as Eldoret besides the main source of Naivasha, are mainly sold at the Market, in Hurlingham and Westlands.

In spite of their aesthetic value, flowers are not fully appreciated in a country famed for being the biggest supplier to the European Union market.

But is it true that men know very little on the value of flowers?

“The truth is that Nairobi men are not romantic. They wouldn’t want to be seen carrying a bunch of roses to surprise their wives or girlfriends. On the few occasions I have received flowers from my boyfriend, they are delivered to the office,” says Martha Wangeci who works in the CBD.

It remains a peculiar statistic that for a country that exported Sh42 billion worth of flowers in 2012, local sales are nothing to write home about. Beauty, it seems, remains unappreciated in the capital.