It’s been quite a start to the year, what with trekking back and forth to the hospital to visit the man of the house, who was air lifted to hospital after a fall, shattered his elbow and broke a few bones in his arm, a road trip to Devon to meet up with dozens of British flower growers and working hard with my ‘partner in grime’ Sara Willman on our new venture Our Flower Patch.
Monday’s visit to Cullompton was an opportunity to meet and share ideas with flower growers around the country. Those of you who visit regulary will know that I’ve been banging on about the decline in the British cut flower industry for a long time. I’m not alone in wanting to see a resurgence in British grown cut flowers. All around the UK growers are doing their best to buck the trend and this has been helped by the popularity of THe Great British Garden Revival on BBC2 recently. There’s even a new flower grower setting up not a million miles from Bradford on Avon.
Britsh growers will never compete with supermarkets on price but there is no comparison between a bunch of unscented roses which have been flown from Columbia and kept for days in a refrigerated container, only to die soon after making it into your vase and a bouquet of highly scented seasonal paperwhite narcissus which were picked yesterday in Cornwall. And if you can’t afford to splash out on British blooms you can always grow a few of your own. That’s where Our Flower Patch comes in.
For some time now we have been scrutinising the National Curriculum, talking to schools about their school gardens, what works and what doesn’t, how they want to use their grounds and trialling cut flower growing in schools. The result of all this work is a fledgling business supporting schools in setting up small-scale profit making flower growing enterprises and raising the profile of British flowers among the consumers of tomorrow.
We’ll be launching in earnest in time for the start of the growing season but would love to hear from schools and individuals who would like to know more about how to become part of our first year inspiring a new generation of growers.
You know where to find me. That’s right. In a school garden or the fracture clinic at the RUH.