British Flowers Week 2016

To celebrate British Flowers Week 2016, Gardens Illustrated will be posting a series of interviews with some of the amazing cut-flower growers and florists supporting the British-grown revolution. Read our introduction to the event.

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British Flowers Week, 13 to 19 June 2016

 

Across the country at dawn this week (British Flowers Week), a new breed of flower farmer is either out in the fields cutting flowers, doing their social media, or anxiously checking the weather forecast. These are the new cut-flower growers reviving the home-grown industry, from the north of Scotland to Cornwall, almost all of them women who have emerged from other careers such as lawyers, engineers, nurses, architects and academics. 

The UK flower industry is worth an estimated £2 billion, of which British-grown flowers currently account for less than 10 per cent following a catastrophic decline in the industry in the 1970s, and a flood of cheap imported blooms on to the market. Now you’re more likely to see a South African protea in a bunch of shop-bought flowers than larkspur, cornflower or foxglove.

 

But over the past few years, a network of growers has collaborated under flowersfromthefarm.co.uk challenging the misconception that locally grown flowers don’t last and are inferior to those chemically treated, slightly startled-looking flowers found for sale at a supermarket or petrol station forecourt near you. 

British-grown flowers have that ‘just picked’ look, with an airy, relaxed feel somewhere between a June hedgerow and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  So this week, think about the 300 or so flower farmers nationwide who’ve endured chilblains, backache and sleep deprivation to bring you flowers that haven’t been messed about with - or wracked up more miles than a frequent flier - but are fresh, often scented and always beautiful.

To celebrate British Flowers Week 2016 Gardens Illustrated has spoken to a selection of British flower growers and florists to hear their thoughts on the British flower growing industry. They will be sharing their stories and giving advice to encourage other people to get involved and support home-grown flowers. A new interview will be posted each day of British Flowers Week, so keep your eyes peeled for updates on our social media sites. 

Here are links to all our interviews for British Flowers Week: 

Monday Introduction to British Flowers Week with Caroline Beck from Verde Flowers
Tuesday Grower and florist Sara Willman
Wednesday Grower and founder of Flowers from the Farm Gill Hodgson from Fieldhouse Flowers
Thursday Flower grower Paula Baxter from Mill Pond Flower Farm
Friday Flower farmer James Cock from Flowers by Clowance
Saturday Florist Fiona Pickles from Firenza Flowers
Sunday Claire Brown from Plant Passion

Find out more about the events happening this week at britishflowersweek.co.uk or by following #britishflowersweek across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

 

 

Words Caroline Beck
Caroline runs Verde Flowers, England’s most northerly flower farm near Durham, and regularly writes for Gardens Illustrated. She has helped us to research growers accross the UK for this series of interviews. The photograph shown here was taken by Erika Sykes at The Biscuit Factory Gallery in Newcastle where flower grower, Caroline and florist Fiona Pickles from Firenza Floral Design have joined forces to create a magnificent display using Hawthorn branches for this year's British Flowers Week. 

Illustration Tamsin Daisy Rees. Follow Tamsin on Instagram: @tamsindaisyrees and tumblr: tamsindaisyrees.tumblr.com

 

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What not to miss at GROW London 2016
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