April 2013 Newsletter

Hello, and welcome to our April Newsletter.
Our first Newsletter using our brand spanking new logo!! It was designed for us by the lovely Jodie Kale. She is always looking for new graphic design projects and comes highly recommended from us. If you'd like more details on how to contact Jodie then drop us a line at flowers@thebritishflowercollective.com .
 

This month I have asked Tracey Campbell to be our featured member. 
I wanted to show that we are not biased towards growers and I asked Tracey if she could give a Florist's opinion on British Flowers. With my business BareBlooms I grow and arrange but as I have a shortage of growing space (and time) I often have the problem of sourcing flowers from elsewhere. Obviously I want to source British Flowers and I am lucky enough to be surrounded by quite a few small scale growers such as myself, but not every Florist is as lucky as me. I think the demand from Florists for British Flowers out strips supply at the moment and this is something we at the British Flower Collective would like to address, but before I digress too much; over to Tracey at Campbell's flowers....

Sourcing British Grown Flowers – A Florist’s View

 
As some of you may know, Campbell’s Flowers buy British, wherever possible.  But therein lies the rub.  Sadly, we have to put that little ‘wherever possible’ proviso in all our wordage, just in case.  As a business, Campbell’s strive to create seasonal, natural flowers with a ‘just picked’ look and last year put together a really involved styled shoot which has been featured on top blogs and in numerous wedding magazines.  The concept of the shoot was to champion British grown flowers and takes the reader on a visual journey from local flower farmer to florist to bride. 
 
Fantastic! You might all be saying to yourselves! Here’s someone who is really excited by the resurgence of British grown flowers and the obvious interest and buzz being created at the moment and is clearly trying to do something about it. Absolutely, I truly am.  But, I must confess I do have a few quiet reservations about just how this is all going to work.
 
As I’m sure you’re aware, we florists work with really long lead times – I’m pretty much fully booked this year and already have a lot of bookings for next year.  That means some pretty serious commitments in terms of flowers.  But with this commitment and responsibility come lots and lots questions!
 
With so much of the British flower market relying so heavily on small growers, will the supply be reliable?  Also, will there be a conflict of interest in terms of growers supplying wedding flowers direct to brides?  How will pricing work?  The floristry industry is somewhat beleagured at the moment – the changing face of retail, high costs, fierce competition from supermarkets and department stores – naturally, I do worry that this is just added strain.
 
But, I’m nothing if not an optimist.  I do think that the face of floristry is changing and don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to adapt.  To me, change is good.  I love the fact that people have really started to eat seasonally – it means less horrid tasteless strawberries in February!  And, I’m really hopeful these attitudes will spill over to flowers too – happily, this certainly seems to be the way my Brides are thinking!
 
We’re always looking for ways to spread the word about seasonal and British grown flowers – during March you might have seen or heard us:-
 
Boho Weddings – in a post about Spring Flowers
 
BBC Radio Sheffield – talking about John Lewis stocking fake daffodils!
 
Angel in the North – in a post about a Derbyshire photo shoot
 
Mosiac Brides Magazine – promoting British grown flowers
 
And much, much more!

Thank you Tracey for the lovely examples of your work. 

Of course Tracey has a website and you can follow her on FACEBOOK Pinterest and also keep a breast of what she is up to on her  Blog , which has some great links to some DIY floristry tutorials. 
I hope Tracey's words will open up some discussions between us growers and florists and how we can help each other out in spreading the British Flower love. Please email me with any thoughts, ideas, rants, etc, etc...
I'd like to thank Tracey for always using the words 'wherever possible' when talking about her Flowers. I have nothing against Florists using imported flowers, although obviously I'd love everyone to use only British blooms, sometimes needs must...What rubs me up the wrong way though is when I see a number of Florists/Floral Artists/Arrangers/etc out there that are tagging onto the 'seasonal', 'british flowers' buzz when it is blatantly obvious, especially (or maybe only to those of us in the industry) that they are not. That however is a rant for another time and place, onwards....

I managed to squeeze in a very brief, rare trip to that London last month.  I scheduled in a lunchtime visit to the Garden Museum, between meeting a few of this years Brides.
I was there of course to have a look at the Floriculture exhibition, which is still open until the 28th April. 
There isn't really the space here to go into too much detail about it and of course my opinions are my opinions, and I don't expect everyone, or anyone to agree! I did have a little chat on Twitter with others who had visited over the past couple of months though and the general consensus was that of disappointment (apart from the lovely food in the restaurant)! There are a lot of us British Flower enthusiasts, growers and users out there and I'm pretty sure a lot of us would have been over joyed to have been involved. There wasn't a single arrangement in the room using British Flowers. It was very much wall to wall facts and statistics. After a while I find it hard to take in information of this sort, I suppose I'm more of a visual person, although there were some images as well. The first thing one notices is that the exhibition is sponsored by Waitrose, amongst others, so there is obviously going to be information about themselves, they claim that 40 % of all flowers sold are grown in Britain. Obviously not from small scale growers such as our members. I do wonder who comes up with these stats (Waitrose themselves?) and does anyone verify them ?
The exhibition isn't of course just about British Flowers and it did try to cover all aspects of the flower industry without bias. Lots of stats about fair-trade initiatives in Kenya for example and how "flying flowers from Kenya to Europe generates less than 20% of the CO2 needed to grow them in heated and lighted greenhouses in Holland".  I must admit a fair few of the stats I had already come across whilst reading 'Gilding the Lily: inside the cut flower industry' by Amy Stewart. The book cost less than two entry tickets to the Garden Museum and is well worth a read. 
 

There is obviously a lot more to debate on the matter than a newsletter has the space for. Please feel free to email me if you yourself visited the exhibition and have any views on the matter. I'd like to put together a longer blog post on the subject and would welcome others opinions. 

Finally I'd like to welcome our newest member; Georgie from Common Farm Flowers, I'm sure you have all heard of her!
I hope to interact with some of you during #Britishflower hour on Twitter,(the brain child ofGeorgies, #Britishflower hr, not Twitter!). If you miss it you can catch up on the weekly round up on Georgies blog

Don't forget we are always on the look out for new members.....
Spread the word and the British Flowers love.....

Chloe (BareBlooms)

 

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