British cut flower co-operative thrives
If you love flower arranging, then Flowers from the Farm is the organisation to check out.
It’s a multi-award-winning co-operative of British cut flower growers founded in 2011.
The not-for-profit movement has more than 570 members from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to Inverness.
Flower farms range in size from micro-businesses on allotments and cutting gardens to sites of six acres or more.
Members are planning The Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend on August 16-18, but more on that nearer the time.
Flowers from the Farm’s main aims
- To encourage more people to grow cut flowers for market in Britain
- To promote British flowers
- To foster friendship and sharing through meetings, activities and communication.
As recently as 50 years ago, commercially grown British cut flowers dominated the UK market with imports known by traders as ‘exotics’.
Today, the opposite is true: 90 per cent of the flowers sold through florists, supermarkets and wholesalers are imported not just from Holland but from as far afield as Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Flowers from the Farm wants to reverse the trend by building awareness of the virtues of locally-grown flowers and developing a network of British cut flower growers.
British growers can offer you:
- Seasonal flowers you won’t find in shops
- Flowers that are freshly picked from a local field
- Flowers of garden-style informal beauty and fragrance
- Involve a fraction of the travel miles
How did Flowers from the Farm begin?
The founder – and now Honorary President – of Flowers from the Farm is Gillian Hodgson of Fieldhouse Flowers in Yorkshire.
After a couple of years of selling flowers at her farm gate, Gill expanded to take on a stall at Driffield Farmers’ Market. It was there that Gill recognised the potential for more people to grow cut flowers for their local markets.
Gill said: “Customers reminisced about gardens they had known and they talked fondly about the people who had grown them.
“It was immediately obvious that flowers went straight to the heart of everyone who saw them, and who had believed that seasonal flowers were a thing of the past.
“I wanted to join an association of other growers: people who were as excited as I was by the possibilities of British flowers.
“I searched for such an organisation without success and one breakfast time in 2011, between one bite of toast and the next, decided to form one.”
Flowers from the Farm was founded with help from Yorkshire Forward, the National Farmers’ Union and the Countryside Landowners’ Alliance.
Where to see Flowers from the Farm
Growers collaborate to exhibit at flower shows, with last year’s highlights including gold medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Bath & West Show, Royal Sandringham and the Shrewsbury Flower Show.
- This year, Flowers from the Farm will be exhibiting at the following shows:
- April: RHS Cardiff, Harrogate Spring Flower Show
- May: RHS Malvern Spring Show, Bath & West Show
- June: Royal Cornwall Show, BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Lincolnshire Show, Royal Highland Show, Blenheim Palace Flower Show
- July: Belvoir Flower & Garden Show, Kent County Show, RHS Tatton, Sandringham Flower Show, Great Yorkshire Show, Royal Welsh Show
- September: Wisley Flower Show, RHS Malvern Autumn Show
For more information visit www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk and watch out for the hashtag #britishflowers.