A seasonal journal entry reflecting on the sustainability of the floral industry, on Valentines Day
I hope you’re having a cosy Sunday today. I’ve been out in the rain cutting Helleborus and foliage from our garden, which are now conditioning for our Valentines orders. It’s a wet, wild February day here in Salisbury, the kind of weather I dislike the most and with that sideways rain I never knew existed until I moved to Britain. Days like this have been few and far between this winter, and for that I am so thankful, and trying my best not to complain.
I’ve been writing this journal entry in my head for the past two weeks, I feel I have so much I want to talk to you about, yet I’ve struggled to put it into words. It occurred to me today that the whole reason I started this blog was to share with you all seasonal flowers as they bloom throughout the year, in our part or the world. Therefore if you are reading this post, I will make the assumption that you want to hear what I have to say on seasonal flowers, not just in February but particularly on Valentine’s Day. So here it is, my thoughts and musings about seasonal flowers on the biggest world wide floral day of the year.
A few weeks ago I put together a carefully curated selection of Valentines flowers. In previous years I have offered mainly seeds and small dried flowers for the simple reason that the British flower season has not really begun. Valentine’s Day in my opinion, is yet another commercialised day encouraging us to spend money on a lot of items that are unsustainable, and quite frankly terrible for the environment. Yet I also feel it’s nice to have a day to celebrate love in all it’s forms. As a seasonal flower grower, this day of love also falls in a month where our income is a little sparse. We have gone through the busy month of December, with Christmas wreaths and workshops. Then spent a lot of January resting, recovering and planning. February arrives and it is still a good six to eight weeks until our tulips are here. Mid February is a time we need to make money, and cashing in on the commercialism of Valentines Day is essential to most growers and florists.
For this reason, I decided this year to put together a selection of dried bouquets in various sizes with the last of our dried bounty we saved from last years flowers. I designed a Jam Jar arrangement filled with Cornish outdoor grown daffodils and narcissi, hellebores from our garden (that I planed last winter especially for this occasion) hazel catkins, and fresh seasonal foliage. I also offered a beautifully wrapped bunch of 50 stems of cheery daffodils.
I pushed our offering for three weeks. I made Instagram reels, targeted advertising to those likely to buy, and shouted about what the real flowers of the season actually are. It got me 4 orders (of which I’m grateful for each of them). And I know exactly why. I believe it comes down to the fact that the general public are so out of touch with not only what seasonal flowers are, but where and how all the blooms thrown in our faces this time of are are actually grown!
The truth is, sometimes it’s hard to stick to your business ethos. I’ve found it slightly tempting to order in those early forced spring flowers, or even the roses grown in far away places, drenched in chemicals, like so many florist do to simply financially survive this time of year. We live in a world where we are constantly seeing the work others are producing and flowers looking so beautiful sometimes makes for difficult decisions.
When I shared a picture last week of a tulip tip on my plot, to show what they really look like this time of year, many people were surprised and thanked me for sharing. I shared this because I understand that when our outdoor grown tulips, in their natural season are just pushing through the soil in February, British grown, mass produced tulips are lining our supermarket shelves since January. How do we expect people to understand true flower seasonality?
I’ve realised this week that continuing to do what I do, and not worry about what others are doing, is key to focusing on what I believe in. I want to raise awareness on what seasonal flowers are, the pleasure that comes with enjoying them in their season, and the benefit local, seasonal flowers has on the environment.
So I am glad of my four orders. I will create them with lots of love and can’t wait to deliver them tomorrow ( with the help of a dear friend since our car broke down, just when I need it! ). I will continue to share through this space the joy each month of appreciating each flower that really is in season.
Seasonal Flowers in Early February
Hellebores have to be one of my favourite flowers blooming in February. If we were growing in a more permanent space, I would be filling our garden beds with these stunning winter flowers. I’ve seen camelias flowering in neighbours gardens too, and I dream of having these big blousy rose like flowers in our forever garden one day.
A lot of flowers are just opening this month and some a so small you need to seek them out and take notice. Snow drops, crocus, cyclamens, hazel catkins and the first daffodils. February is a month of looking, seeking and noticing the changes. The days slowly lengthen and we slowly emerge from our winter hibernation to prepare for the seasonal shift into Spring.
February can be a somewhat frustrating month. As we praise ourselves for making it through the dark days of January, Spring it still a long way off. The days can be cold and very grey, and I can find myself in a bit of a slump. This is exactly why I find seeking out seasonal flowers, and noticing the weekly changes so important. It reminds us that we are moving toward longer warmer days, with more flowers to come each month.
The good news is that our patience of waiting for each flower to arrive, makes it so much more special. In about six weeks from now, it will be the end of March and the tulips will flower, followed closely in April by the Ranunculas and come May and June we will have an abundance. Hold tight friends, enjoy your seasonal flowers and remember that warmer, brighter days are just around the corner.
To my friends and family in Melbourne reading this, I hope you spoil each other with locally grown roses, dahlias, zinnias and all the beautiful late summer flowers that are in bloom for Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s to you all, sending so much love,
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