Did you ever wonder where the flowers you buy from the supermarket are grown?
90% of flowers sold in the UK are imported, not just from Holland but flown in from growers as far afield as Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. As well as the environmental impact of flowers flown thousands of miles, the chemicals used in preserving these flowers have been known to pollute the surrounding waterways, and it has been documented that working conditions on some of these flower farms are far from adequate.
Did you ever wonder why, when you lift a supermarket bouquet to your nose, there is no lovely fragrance?
This is because the fragrance has been bred out of imported flowers, to assist with prolonging shelf life for long distance travel and storage.
At the Cornish Flower Patch, we are doing our small part in reviving what is actually an old flower farming tradition in Cornwall, and to grow our farm flowers in an environmentally friendly way. Before the decline of the British Flower industry in the 1970’s, Cornwall was renowned for its flower growing, which typically started earlier than most areas in the country due to the mild climate. At the peak of the industry’s success in the 1940’s, flowers were loaded onto wagons and then trains by the caseload, bound for Covent Garden Flower Market.
Some growers remained, but now there are an increasing number of small scale producers like us, who believe in growing seasonal, locally grown flowers with low environmental impact. After all, living in this beautiful rugged and coastal county, with the warm temperatures provided by the Gulf Stream, it makes sense to harness the ability to grow seasonal flowers in a way that is kinder to our planet.
Here are some of the ways in which The Cornish Flower Patch is reducing our carbon footprint and working sustainably:
Our flowers are harvested and conditioned straight from the field, they are fresher than imported flowers, which may have spent up to two weeks in storage;
We use biodegradable or recyclable wrapping for our bouquets, and on the farm we reuse our plastic pots and containers many times over. We are working towards ensuring our packaging for the items you buy from our online shop are also environmentally friendly;
Our printed literature is biodegradable and we use environmentally friendly printing companies;
We bulk buy our compost by the lorry load. This is green waste produced by a short distance from our farm, which means we do not use plastic bagged compost;
We get our manure from other local farms;
We harvest rainwater where possible and use the no-dig method of creating our raised beds and polytunnel beds. This method of layering compost, manure and mulch increases the biodiversity of our soil, helps stop water run-off and means we do not need to till unnecessarily and damage our soil structure;
Our flowers are a natural source of food for pollinators and beneficial insects, so our farm helps the biodiversity of our surrounding area, as well as providing a welcome source of food for the bees.