This week is British Flowers Week, an annual campaign from the New Covent Garden Market celebrating the magnificent British floral industry, while also shining a light on the flowers, plants and foliage grown and enjoyed on home soil. The flowers we grow, cut, and sell at Water Lane are always seasonal, sustainable, and grown with organic and regenerative practices. Much like we wonder why there are strawberries for sale in December when English ones are so perfect in June, why are roses available in February that have been flown halfway round the world, and are sad and scentless, when you could have British narcissi and snowdrops?
It is a sad fact that most flowers sold today in supermarkets and florists have been grown by large scale commercial growers and routed through Dutch auctions. Recent reports suggest that more than 90% of flowers are imported into the UK from as far away as Kenya, Colombia, Ecuador, and Ethiopia. We’re not only talking air miles; a significant and disturbing array of chemicals are being used to grow pest free crops and help prolong the flowers’ shelf life as they are shipped from one side of the globe to the other. On top of that the workforce are exposed to these dangerous chemicals and paid poorly.
While the British industry has reduced in size, there are pioneers who are challenging this new norm and taking a stand against it. You’ll now find tiny patches to two or three-acre fields of flowers being grown ‘commercially’ across the UK. The quality and variety of seasonal British blooms is something we encourage everyone who loves cut flowers to seek out. A huge range of British flowers are available throughout the year, meaning that our current consumption of flowers grown abroad is damaging the planet entirely unnecessarily. A supermarket plastic wrapped bunch of tulips will never compare to the size, scent, and length stem of the tulips we grow at Water Lane. We can’t deny they will cost a few pounds more, but the long vase life and joy they give as they twist, curl and age, is something we believe is worth it.
The cutting garden here at Water Lane is particularly abundant this year, our third growing season, not sure if that’s down to what we’ve learnt or nature just taking care of things, and so we’re happy to announce that you can now pre-order buckets of flowers or hand-tied bunches, for collection.
Amongst the roses, and sweet peas at Water Lane, we have sweet william, gypsophila, nigella, delphinium, nepeta, scabious, phlox, all the umbellifers and in a month or so, there will be the first dahlias too. The buckets of flowers, either medium or large, are harvested to order and are intended for those who are happy to create their own floral displays at home, or for a party or event. Here’s a link for further details and to place an order. In addition, you can now pre-order a medium or large hand-tied bunch of Water Lane grown flowers, created by our in-house florist, Pia; click here to order.
Visitors to Water Lane are always welcome to come and have a stroll around the cutting garden and see for themselves what’s possible to be grown here in the UK, or join one of the monthly Cutting Garden workshops with Ian.