There are so many celebrations in the year when we give fresh flowers. In the UK, the cut-flower industry is worth more than £1bn, and the demand for blooms has only boomed post-pandemic, as we focus more on our homes and gardens. The way we gift flowers is another thing we can easily change to support our planet. A few ideas for you below.
Reduce the miles
Less than 15% of cut stems are grown in the UK at the moment. The remainder are grown overseas, using a range of pesticides, fungicides and refrigerated storage and transport. According to a study published by Lancaster University (https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sci-tech/about-us/news/archive/2018/feb/say-it-with-british-flowers/), an imported mixed bouquet produces 10 times more CO2 than a British-grown equivalent. Sticking to our seasons and buying from UK growers can easily be done through Flowers from the Farm (https://www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk/). This is a not-for-profit membership association supporting more than 1,000 independent, artisan flower growers in the UK. It has a great website where you can plug in your postcode and it will give you the names of 50 local flower farms that you can buy from directly.
Buy everlasting bouquets
After a week or so when the flowers fade, they’re put in the bin (unless you compost) and sent to landfill, where they decay and emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Opting for longer lasting flowers can help reduce consumption and waste.
Dried flowers and foliage have made a real come-back in interiors. They can last for many months. Many florists include this option in their product offering. One of our favourite new dried foliage producers is Leaflace (Leaflace.co.uk). The individually crafted leaves are striking and sculptural, and last for many months.
Preserved flowers which use natural plant-based glycerine and dyes enable blooms to last a whole year, while keeping their vibrant colours. Shida Preserved Flowers (https://www.shida.florist/) is one florist that has based their collection on this method.
Gift from your garden
There is something wonderful about home-grown gifts. A tied posy of fragrant home-grown herbs can make anyone’s day. For inspiration, Poppy Okotcha (LINK https://www.poppyokotcha.com/) is a fountain of knowledge on everything from the nutritional and medicinal benefits of plants to foraging responsibly. If you don’t have space to grow your own flowers, a beautifully made pot and a packet of seeds could be a thoughtful gift.
Don’t forget, Christmas is also on its way! What a beautiful idea for a sustainable Christmas present.