Cornish Flowers

Why locally grown Cornish flowers, and why are they more sustainable?

Have you ever wondered where the flowers you pick up in the supermarket were grown, or how they travelled? Until 30 years ago, most flowers bought in this country were grown in England, but the industry declined with the growth of the markets in Holland who, through Dutch government subsidies, came to dominate the world flower trade. 

Imported flowers are flown into the United Kingdom from Columbia and Ethiopia, usually via a further stop in Holland, and have a large carbon footprint and many air miles. Most have been sprayed many times over with different chemicals to prolong life and enable extended journeys, and the impact of the chemicals on the farmworkers and the water systems from runoff is well documented. 

Cornwall has a long history of flower farming. From the Narcissi of the Scilly Isles, to the banks of the Tamar Valley to the North, the beginning of the last century saw wagon loads of seasonal flowers board the famous “flower train”, which ran from West Cornwall to the heart of the English flower trade, Covent Garden flower market. 

The British growing season offers many varieties of flowers with different flowers at their best at different times of the year.

“Let us permit nature to have her way; she understands her business better than we do”.

Michel de Montaigne

This means that each special bloom has their own special moment in the season, and as such are all the more appreciated for the fleetingness of their appearance.

Our growing season is from April to October – we are lucky in Cornwall that our growing season is longer than most other areas of the country, due to our milder climate.

Spring

The weather feels kinder, the days longer and those green buds are starting to appear. Spring heralds the end of a long winter and brings with it excitement and hope for the season ahead …

Anemones, Daffodils, Hellebore, Leucojum, Muscari, Narcissi, Ranunculus and Tulips.

Summer

The ground feels warm and that early morning chill has disappeared. The bees are happily awake and industrious, the scent of freshly cut grass fills the air. The onset of summer brings with it an abundance of colour, variety and gorgeous fragrances…

Early – Allium, Antirrhinum, Cerinthe, Cornflowers, Delphinium, Forget me not, Gladioli, Gypsophila, Iris, Ixia, Lavender, Lilac, Poppy, Rose, Statice, Sweetpea, Sweet rocket, Sweet William.

Mid – Cosmos, Eryngium, Feverfew, Larkspur, Nigella, Phlox, Salvia, Scabious, Sunflowers, Veronica, Zinnia

Late – Achillea, Agapanthus, Ammi, Dahlia, Calendula, Hydrangea

Autumn

The days have shortened and the harvest is in full swing. The evening sun is starting to fade but there is still a huge array of vibrant blooms…

Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Echinops, Helenium, Rudbeckia, Verbena.

Winter

The flower beds are resting and the Cornish landscape is a little bleak. Winter can be cold, wet and gloomy but there are still some little jewels of colour to be found…

Anemones, Snowdrops, Holly, Ivy, Juniper, Hyacinth, Narcissi. 

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