Why are local, seasonal flowers best?
The beauty and scent of fresh flowers undoubtedly feeds our soul.
We give them as gifts to brighten loved ones' days, and it's hard to imagine a wedding without them.
But sadly, as is often the case with mass industry, there is largely undiscussed and somewhat sinister cost that comes with that well meant bunch of flowers.
Most of the flowers sold in the uk are grown thousands of miles away, where there is lots of sun, but not much water. The farms are literally draining the surrounding region dry, taking the water from locals and creating a desert wasteland where no crops can grow.
There is little, if any regulations on chemicals and workers rights in many places, meaning the flowers are heavily treated with insecticides, which impacts on the health of the environment, local workers (who are often children), florists who handle the flowers in the uk, and ourselves when we bring these chemical residues into our homes.
To get to our supermarkets and florist, the flowers are heavily sprayed again before their week-long, refrigerated journey to the uk.
To add to this, the process of transporting the delicate flowers creates loads of rubbish - boxes, plastic sleeves, little plastic tubes to support fragile stems, synthetic sponges, elastic bands, packing paper, tape.. . . .The flowers for a single bouquet could generate enough rubbish to fill a bin bag!
As light is starting to be shed on this issue due to "green" concerns, the cut flower industry is going to great lengths to convince us that imported flowers can have a low carbon footprint, by providing research showing that flowers flown from Africa can use less energy overall than those produced in Europe because they're not grown in heated greenhouses.
However this research does not take into account the gross use of water that could otherwise be a lifesaving resource either as a daily drink or as a means of irrigating food crops. This is particularly important given that most cut flowers are grown in developing countries where poverty is endemic and access to clean water is problematic.
It also does't take into account that if we keep it seasonal there is no need to use heated greenhouses. Local wildflower florists, using polly tunnels in the uk can produce a huge variety of beautiful, seasonal blooms all year round.
The good news is, there are more and more artisan florists working hard to grow sustainable blooms across the uk, and the more we support them, the more there will be.
Flowers grown locally and in season are usually grown organically or without the need of being fed synthetic fertilizers under artificial light. They keep the local ecosystem healthy providing food for the bees and butterflies, and they also feed the local economy, providing jobs within the community.
Locally grown flowers only require a reusable bucket for transport and maybe a bit of paper for wrapping a bouquet. They are freshly picked, and kept in water whilst transported, so will last longer in a vase, and the buckets of wild flowers I use for weddings are far cheaper than the imported blooms.
So the solution to flowers that feed the soul and care for our earth - Use local, seasonal flowers for all occasions. Search for locally grown flowers in your area, and as the demand grows then so will the home grown blooms.
Here are a few photos from some inspiring local wildflower florists in my area, supplying eco friendly wedding flowers for weddings all across Pembrokeshire and beyond.
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