At the time of writing we’ve had a pretty wet June but finally we’ve got some sun and warmth. This may only be our second year but we’re already fascinated by how each growing year can be so different. Our 2019 season didn’t really start until mid-May but we’re hoping for a long and sunny summer to stretch our flower production towards the end of October.
Stars of the show so far this year? Hmmm, well we are both besotted by Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Beaujolais'. It has lovely arching stems with rich dark burgundy/crimson flower spikes and silvery foliage. The bees and insects love it, which is a bonus, and it lasts for ages when cut.
Another great performer is Penstemon ‘Mother of Pearl’, these plants are now in their second year and are producing volumes of great stems of bell-shaped flowers, their colour is hard to describe but they are slightly iridescent with hints of cream, pink, blue and purple.
So what have we been up to?
Well, in Spring we spent two lovely evenings sharing our story and love of growing British cut flowers with two local gardening clubs. Everyone was so welcoming and the support for our growing local business was amazing. At the first talk we met a lady who has a fabulous garden in the next village, and she happens to sell cottage garden plants, so we have been expanding our stocks by buying just about as locally as you can get.
We’ve also been really busy keeping on top of the newly expanded plot, the bigger growing area means more seeds to sow, more plants to plant and more weeds to weed! Not to mention further to walk when watering and feeding – and when you’ve left your trowel in Bed 30 and you need it for Bed 2!
We did treat ourselves to a ‘business trip’ to the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, the weather was awful but we had a great day and picked up some ideas for new plants to try out for cutting. Whilst we were there we took the opportunity to have a look at the Chatsworth cutting garden which is managed by Becky Crowley – if you are on Instagram she’s a ‘must follow’, such a talent for taking great photos of the stunning cut flowers grown in the walled kitchen garden.
We took another trip to local grower Bennison Peonies ordering more peonies to add to our expanding collection. They’re quite an investment and they will take about 3 years to reach any kind of productivity but they’re so worth it! A few of the beauties we selected are…
We’ve been picking and picking and picking! Our customer base is growing and so far this year we’ve provided flowers for weddings, parties, leaving gifts, birthdays, church flowers and a funeral to mention a few and we continue to supply some extremely talented local florists. Our business is growing organically (pardon the pun) and the feedback we receive just makes all of the hard work worthwhile.
Why British flowers?
As we prepared for our garden club talks we spent a bit of time reminding ourselves of the environmental benefits of buying locally grown cut flowers. We know that approximately 90% of flowers commonly found in florists and supermarkets are flown in from abroad, the obvious places being Holland and roses from Kenya but we were more surprised about Ecuador, Columbia, India and Morocco. There being 5,810 miles between the UK and Ecuador.
A study ‘A comparative LCA of the carbon footprint of cut-flowers: British, Dutch and Kenyan’ by Rebecca Swinn (MSc Thesis, Lancaster University 2017) concluded that a locally outdoor grown bouquet of mixed garden flowers is estimated to have significantly lower CO2 emissions, around 5% of the Dutch or Kenyan bouquet.
Food for thought!