30 April 2020
Author: Ron van der Ploeg
PARIS, France: The lily of the valley flower features tiny white or pink bell-shaped blooms. But tiny little things can mean a lot these days. Especially in France.
The French government’s decision to allow florists to temporarily open their shops tomorrow to sell lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) flowers, has been hailed as a victory for the France’s ornamental horticulture industry.
There’s been a raging debate between the government and the horticultural sector over who should be entitled to sell France’s quintessential May Day flower – essential retailers only or retail florists also.
The government opted for the retailers but reconsidered its decision today by giving retail florists the permission to temporarily open their shops tomorrow on May Day, also known as la Fête du Travail in French.
The Elysee’s move is a symbolic one as many retail florists felt discriminated against by the government during the coronavirus lockdown, regardless the fact that Labour Day lily of the valley flowers represent an annual turnover of 22 million euros.
Mikael Mercier, president of Val’Hor, the sector body that in collaboration with the Fédération Française des Artisans Fleuristes and U2P called on the government, says that even if this sales figure is small in comparison to the record losses of 14 billion euros the country’s ornamental horticulture industry is suffering, the lily of the valley victory is important as it offers the country’s retail florists some relief.
Earlier this week, the government announced that the opening of all flower shops is scheduled for 11 May, when the country’s lockdown will be eased.