What's wrong with shop-bought flowers?
Wednesday, 23rd October 2019 by Chen

People's understanding of seasonal food has increased enormously in the past few years. We know that the challenging slog through swedes during the "hungry gap" will be rewarded with tangy wild garlic, delicate asparagus and crunchy new-season carrots soon after.

What people aren't so aware of is that the "perpetual summer" of supermarket fruit and veg shelves is repeated in the flower aisles. Parks and hedgerows show us that the UK's daffodil season falls in March/April. But, like strawberries, they're in supermarkets from December. Roses flower in summer, yet bloom in florists all year round.

When we pick up a bunch of lilies, we may not appreciate that they will likely have been air-freighted thousands of miles from water-guzzling, pesticide-drenched glasshouses in Kenya, Mexico or Colombia.*  Even Dutch flowers can have a far higher carbon footprint than others grown in the UK.**

The good news is that GC now offers an ethical source of beautiful seasonal flowers - many of which you won't find for sale anywhere else. Shelagh has been busy at Dagenham Farm for the past few months planting bulbs and seeds so you can enjoy the hand-reared, pesticide-free, bee-friendly, fairly-traded flowers of her labours!

To order flowers for your home, restaurant, wedding, party, supper club or as a special gift, email Shelagh directly to find out what's in season or discuss a quote.

If you're a member of the GC veg scheme and you collect from the Old Fire Station, you can add a fortnighly or weekly bunch of fresh flowers to your order during the flower season - usually July to October. It'll be a hand-picked selection of the best flowers in season. 

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* Around 80% of the flowers seen in UK shops are imported. "For pretty things in a vase, cut flowers punch well above their weight in terms of environmental fallout," wrote Lucy Siegle in The Observer. "They are grown using copious doses of fertilisers, insecticides, fungicides, nematocides and plant-growth regulators, generally washed straight into waterways. One study of greenhouses in Mexico growing flowers for the global market found 36 chemicals in air samples from the hothouse, including, horrifyingly, DDT." 

Another article on The Green Parent website said: "Furthermore, the exploitative working conditions found on the huge multinational farms in Africa and South America is enough to make you think twice before choosing that bouquet. The charity War on Want reported that in Colombia workers endure long hours in hot greenhouses, many for less than $1 a day and on short-term contracts." On UK flower farms, low-paid migrant workers are often exploited during picking season. 

** A recent Life Cycle Analysis of flowers found a mixed bouquet of flowers imported from the Netherlands and Kenya produced 10 times more carbon emissions than a home-grown bunch.