It's quite hard to talk about what it is that we at Little Garden do differently without talking about what's wrong with the floriculture industry in the first place.
The British Flower Industry is an under-valued and rarely discussed topic in the typical British household. And for no bad reason.. other than no one really knows much about it!
This was certainly the case for Lois when starting her career in flowers. Most flower shops or studio florists source their flowers from the global flower market - an incredible beast which can pick flowers in Kenya, ship them to Holland, and then fly them to Japan, and have them in a vase on your kitchen table 48 hours later.
Needless to say this obviously has a monumental carbon footprint. On top of this there is often many poorly paid workers taken advantage of, as well as the harsh use of chemicals and pesticides (often illegal in the UK) sprayed onto the flowers to reduce pests and increase vase life. Not something anyone should be handling!
The modern day flower shop may also choose to arrange those flowers for a wedding in floral-foam/Oasis - a carcinogenic, plastic-derived product which not only harms the florist handling it, but also poisons waterways and marine life after it's been soaked in water.
A year into working in the industry we were asking ourselves, when did something so natural turn into something that really wasn't?
The time for investment in British flower growing has never been more perfect. The growers are there, they are expanding rapidly, seeking support, buying the land, developing their stock, their range… They’re devising clever means of combatting bugs and beasties, whilst encouraging diversity. Not returning to an old model of mass-production, but trying to find new and sustainable ways of growing that will offer us, the flower lovers, all the abundant blooms we could possibly wish for.
And as for sustainable practices? In just the last two years the amount of discussion around this has increased massively. New resources are coming our of the woodwork, books and Facebook discussion groups encouraging new methods and practices are incredibly valuable. Still floristry colleges around the country lag behind, but social media and #nofoam or #foamfree are providing just as useful a tool as any.
We love to encourage the public to help this growing trend and industry by buying British flowers and talking to their local florists about being as eco-friendly as possible.
Look out for our Art of Eco Florals workshop and Pick-Your-Own classes to help expand your knowledge on sustainable flowers.