Tomorrow marks the start of British Flowers Week (Monday 15th – Friday 19th June). This is a week focussing on celebrating and promoting seasonal locally grown flowers and foliage. It was started by New Convent Garden Flower Market and is now in its third year. The aim is simple to get British flowers back into vases in our homes.
This year to celebrate British Flowers Week I will be leaving some bunches of flowers in scenic spots in our local town. These will hopefully provide someone with a nice surprise and then once they have found them they can take them home. As it is British Flowers Week I also wanted the focus for my blog to be why buy homegrown flowers?
Did you know that 90% of flowers we buy in the UK are imported and only 10% are grown in this country. This is compared to 50% of flowers being homegrown 20 years ago. The chances are that the flowers you buy from the supermarket or florist will have travelled thousands of miles in refrigerated lorries and aeroplanes to reach your vase. Flowers will have travelled not just from Holland but from as far away as Africa and South America where they are grown on an immense scale, therefore with associated problems.
Over the last 10 years there has been a trend towards buying our food locally when we can. We are more aware of where our food has come from and look for freshness and quality in the produce we buy. However when we buy flowers many of us don’t consider where they have come from.
I along with many other growers of British flowers hope to get you to look at flowers in a new way. Instead of going to the supermarket and buying a bunch of roses that are all uniform in size and shape, with no scent, which have been flown thousands of miles, consider the alternative. Dropping in to your local flower grower and buying a bunch of flowers that are natural and smell devine and whats more you can see exactly where they have been grown.
So what good reasons are there to buy homegrown flowers?
The scent of homegrown flowers is abundant and delicious. When I first started selling flowers it amazed me how I could walk towards the stall and the scent would just hit me. I love the time I spend in the cutting garden taking in all the amazing scents of the different flowers and it is one of the main reasons I wanted to grow flowers to sell. I wanted other people to enjoy this too.
You can’t buy flowers any fresher than when they have been cut and conditioned for you straight from the cutting garden. You can be reassured that no chemicals have been used to preserve the flowers life too. Flowers can last longer in the vase as they have not spent the additional days travelling before they reach the customer.
You know that the bunch or jam jar of flowers you have bought will be unique as it was made using the best of what the cutting garden had to offer. When you come back for another bunch of flowers you know that it will be different to the one you had before as the seasons move forward and different flowers come into bloom. Buying locally grown flowers you may also find your bunch includes varieties that you would never find in the supermarket. Many flowers are just too delicate to be imported. Next time you buy a homegrown bouquet see if you can identify all the flowers in it. You may just end up with a new favourite!
When you can buy a particular type of flower all year round from the supermarket or florist you lose the ability to know what is in season when. if you buy locally grown flowers you increase your knowledge and awareness of the seasons. You start to learn that you can get bluebells, tulips and anenomes in May, cosmos and cornflowers in July and Dahlias is September. The following year you can get excited at the thought of these flowers appearing in the different months and popping down to get a bunch of them for your table at home.
By supporting local flower growers you are helping increase biodiversity. Flowers provide food and a habitat for wildlife such as bees, butterflies and insects.
This British Flowers Week if you are buying flowers for yourself or as a gift consider buying locally grown ones. You will not only take home a beautiful, scented, unique product that has been grown with love but you will be helping the environment and doing your bit to revive flower growing in Britain today.