Everyone loves flowers, but most bought in England are imported from countries where the blooms are sprayed with toxic chemicals (grown by farmers with poor welfare standards), air-freighted (arriving feeling the same way you would after a long-haul flight), wrapped in plastic and then sold in supermarkets, florists and petrol stations. It’s perfectly possible to grow beautiful heirloom flowers in England, which last longer and have unique scents.
See plants & trees to avoid near pets (avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch & fresh compost near pets). Use humane safe slug/snail deterrents & no-dig garden methods. See safer alternatives to netting for wildlife, if used. Many plants (inc. yew & oak trees) are toxic to equines.
Don’t display flowers near windows, as it can confuse birds, who may think it’s outdoor vegetation. Removing them helps to stop birds flying into windows.
Grow & Arrange Your Own Flowers
To display flowers in a vast, cut each stalk on the diagonal and add a little homemade flower food (add 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to the water). Florists can order biodegradable floral foam from Eco Fresh Bouquet.
- Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden shows how to grow, harvest & arrange organic blooms year round. Written by flower farmer Erin Banzakein, read Floret Farm’s A Year in Flowers which contains 25 arrangements including posies, bridal bouquets & festive wreaths.
- Slow Flowers is a book of 52 beautiful bouquets using local seasonal flowers (and in winter, the bouquets include grasses & twigs). All 4 seasons have their own botanical character. Includes design tips & bouquet recipes.
- The Flower Farmer’s Year is a lovely book by Georgie Newbury, who gave up a career in fashion to run an organic flower farm in Somerset with her husband. This book shows how you can do the same, by earning an income from flowers you grow. Her other book Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers includes posies, buttonholes & flower crowns.
Where To Buy Local Organic Flowers
- Flowers From The Farm is a beautiful site. Just enter your postcode and find local florists who sell organic flowers.
- Organic Blooms (Gloucestershire) is a social enterprise that employs people with learning difficulties to grow flowers for sale. A nice gift idea for someone is to sponsor an organic flower bed in their name.
- Blooming Green (Kent) grows organic flowers, in the middle of a fruit farm. Available from April to October, these rustic bouquets include native wild species, and meadow flowers. They are only picked a few days before sending.
- Tregothnan Flowers (Cornwall) is from an estate that grows its own tea. Not always organic but local (Bees for Development Town Box is ready to plant).
- Isles of Scilly has a warmer climate, so can often grow blooms for autumn and early winter (some are organic, but not certified for cost reasons. Isles of Scilly Flowers & Scented Narcissi both sell daffodils (toxic near pets).
Flowers to Help Others
- If you live in London, Floral Angels & The Flower Bank recycle donated bouquets from weddings & other events, and turn them into beautiful free bouquets, to cheer up people in need.
- Allergic to flowers? Social enterprise Page & Bloom employs domestic abuse victims to train them in producing beautiful paper flowers, made from old books & maps (they are looking for vegan craft glue, get in touch if you can help).
- Flowers for Dreams (Chicago) is a nice inspiring business idea from Chicago. All flowers are from ethical suppliers, delivered by bicycle in biodegradable hessian. A quarter of profits are given monthly to local animal shelters, botanical gardens & children’s cancer patients (so far they have raised over half a million dollars to good causes in the local area).
- Growing Flowers is a lovely book to show you how to plant & harvest beautiful blooms. Step inside Niki’s beautiful flower farm where she grows organic mountain-fresh flowers in North Carolina, USA. She now brings her techniques to your own garden, to grow, harvest and arrange lush seasonally-inspired flowers. Unlike old-school gardening books, this one features beautifully photographed gardening basics with fun, simple and engaging know-how to enable you to grow your own cutting garden. From botanical skills to tips for floral foragers, this is a flower book, with a whimsical twist. Also add in unexpected elements like artichokes, vines and berries. The book includes explanations of soil types and a list of seasonal flowers from peonies and garden roses (for spring) to sunflowers and dahlias for summer and autumn. You’ll also learn how to create flower bouquets using sprigs of greenery.