Sunday, 15 April 2012

British Bloggers in Support of British Flowers Challenge

www.commonfarmflowers.com grow and supply the most beautiful British Flowers 

I am romantic.  There are always flowers in my house especially when I am expecting guests.  A bowl of roses will sit on the side, or posies of sweetpeas delicately scent the room and while we slice cake for afternoon tea I stop for just a moment and admire them. Of course I always take flowers to friends whenever I am invited along with a pot of my own homemade jam .. and yet I’ve discovered recently that the cut flower industry has an ugly social and environmental impact. It shocked me.  As I started to research I noticed that the consequences written about in environmental publications rarely make mainstream media and like most people in the UK I’ve been routinely buying flowers without giving their provenance a second thought. 

It turns out that many of these beautiful flowers I've been buying have been flown halfway round the world and often come from counties where the workers have been exploited, the eco systems are being ruined and the farms where they are being grown are using high doses of agri-chemicals.  It’s wrong.  Just plain wrong.

We spent over £2.2 People aren't going to stop buying flowers and I want flowers as much as the next person .. however there are some things we can start doing, and so I am going to ask you  .. as you are reading this right now to start a flower revolution with me.   (Don't worry I'm not going to ask anything hippy .. !)


I am starting a campaign to ask that we foodies apply the same principles to flowers as we do to our food and support local, sustainable, seasonal and British. We've had a revolution in the way in which we source and buy our food .. it's time we applied the same logic to flowers. 

Think of the impact we foodies could have if we apply the same standards to flowers.  We’d revolutionize the way people think about flowers. 

It’s not going to be easy.  As I discovered it took quite some looking to find British flowers last week, however I have been researching and there are loads and loads of varieties of flowers all through the year.  But we have a chicken and egg situation and we need to generate interest, build up and nurture our growers and our florists. It will take time and I am discovering some fantastic floriculture already but we still import over 80% of our flowers.  That figure is far to high. 


I also appreciate that like pineapples, banana's, oranges and lemons   . there are flowers that we can't grow here, however like with our food choices the same principles apply and we should look for fair-trade options to be our first choice. 


There are lots of ways we can create change and I'd welcome any other suggestions  but to start with  ..   
  • We can look out for British flowers in the Supermarket.
  • Support our flower growers and buy from florist who stock local British flowers.
  • Look out for local growers at the farmers markets and farm shops.
  • Ask ask ask for British Flowers wherever you go.
  • Bloggers can take part in my monthly British posy round up starting in May. (more info to follow)
  • Sign up and take part on the posy swap at the end of June. (more info to follow)
  • Grow your own..  it doesn't get more local that that!
Over the coming weeks I shall be researching and writing more about British flowers, providing a list of British cut flowers, when they are available and from who as well as some other initiatives.


In the meantime to kick start British Bloggers in Support of British Flowers Campaign I am going to ask my fellow food & lifestyle bloggers to step up and make a difference by growing your own posy.  I am so excited about this because Thompson and Morgan have offered the seeds and a fabulous prize to the best bouquet to make this campaign happen and it’s going to be gorgeous! 

If you’d like to take part please do the following:

  • Choose any THREE varieties of flowers that you would like to grow from the ones featured on this page and leave a comment below to say which varieties you would like to grow and the name of your blog.  
  • I will need your address to post out the seeds to please email it to me at recipes@vanessakimbell.com
  • Please add the logo to your blog with a link back to this page.
  • Please tweet this page to say you are taking part.
  • Follow @thompsonmorgan on Twitter


On receipt of the flowers please plant them, love them water them, tend and then make a posy and blog a picture of your bouquet by the 15th of August 2012.  Please email me so I can add you to the round up post.

There is a £100 voucher from Thompson and Morgan to the winner of the loveliest posy

Deadline to apply for he seeds is Thursday 3pm 19th April 2012 so please hurry!

There is a limit of 30 lots available.  seeds will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.

I passionately believe in sustainable Local British food supplied by Artisan producers and I grow my own vegetables in my gardens then if we all apply the same logic to flowers we will change our world for the better.

Take part. Making a difference has never been so lovely. Tell your Friends about #Britishflowers 

More information on each variety can be found in the links to the flowers on the Thomson and Morgan site below. 

Sweet Peas

Cosmos

Zinnia

32 comments:

  1. great idea V!... I love growing flowers in the garden but can I go for just the sweet peas?, pick any three varieties and i'll be happy!... count me in!

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  2. I am SO up for this as I promote ALL things British on my blog, and as you know I am a keen gardener too! So, PLEASE sign me up and I will email you and add the logo etc!
    Hugs,
    Karen

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  3. Have emailed you, tweeted this post and already follow @thompsonmorgan I will add the logo a little later.....Karen xxx

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  4. Such a great idea Vanessa! Please count me in.
    I would like to grow the Sweat Pea 'Anniversary' as it'm mine and Iain's anniversary in August, the Cosmos bipinnatus 'Double Click' because I love double blooms, and Zinnia elegans 'Lilliput mix' because Lilliput is a nickname for Elizabeth.
    Liz xxx

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  5. I've blogged, tweeted and am now following Thompson & Morgan.

    http://abovediamonds.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/im-doing-british-bloggers-in-support-of.html

    Liz x

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  6. As a flower arranger I understand where you are coming from. When I got my allotment I started a small cutting patch and I have been able to use my own flowers for competition work. The best of luck with your campaign.

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  7. Vanessa, I will blog and tweet on Tuesday and will continue to buy British grown flowers along with fair trade. I'll pop the logo on my blog too and I'm looking forward to posting photos of flowers too!
    I won't get any seeds though as I have no garden to speak off in Richmond and will be going to France for the summer holidays so would be unable to maintain pot plants then, but it's wonderful of the seed company to support you and I will order some seeds for friends who are keen gardeners! Jude x

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  8. What a fabulous idea! I'll give it a whirl! I shall blog about it tomorrow. I have tweeted about it too. I shall email you my address. Thank you so much for a fabulous initiative! :o)

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  10. I'd love to take part. I've emailed you.

    www.alwaysbeafriend.com

    Any of the seeds would be great.

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  11. Please count me in, have planned to do cutting garden on the allotment this year so happy to promote and blog about it and would love to take part.

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  12. Good luck with this Vanessa! You will be pleased to know that I have only been buying British flowers for a few weeks (daffodils)! I won't take any seeds have a very small garden. Just wanted to show my support!

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  13. Good luck! I have stopped buying cut flowers from non-uk growers and have already made space in my tiny garden to grow my own. If you are not yet at 30, I would like any mix of sweet peas. I shall blog about this when I am home next week and shall also give away at least half the seeds via my blog to further the message!

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  14. What a fabulous idea! I have tweeted about it too. I shall email you my address. Thank you so much @handbag2000 emma cella

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  15. What a wonderful idea, yes I'd love to be included in the challenge, sign me up.

    Please can I have Sweet Dreams, Sweet Sixteen and Pulchino mixed because I'm feeling inspired by them!

    Yes I will tweet this page etc. www.eleganceonashoestring.net

    Thanks, Amanda

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  16. I'd love to take part - I've tweeted this page and am now following thompson & morgan. As I have previously commented - this is so important and we really should all stop burying our heads in the sand. Okay, my blog name is Jennifer's Journal (htp://jennysrevue.blogspot.com).

    If possible I would like - Anniversary (Sweet Peas), Purity (Cosmos) and Candycane Mixed (Zinnia) - but only if they are still available - otherwise - anything.

    Thanks Vanessa for bringing this to our attention.

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  17. This sounds like such a fab idea... and different from what I usually do so I would LOVE to take part. My blog is What me and the boys say (http://www.whatmeandtheboyssay.posterous.com)

    I would love to grow Sweet pea - Dweet Dreams, Cosmos Double Click Mixed and Zinnia Pulchino Mixed

    Thanks x

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  18. Great idea. I'm on board. I don't need seeds as I've already got mine (grown by Ben at Higgledy Garden) and really ought to get out and get them going! Give mine to your local primary school :)

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  19. what a fabulous idea! i love traditional english flowers. from wild little pretties like forget me not to huge bushes filled with big blousy blooms ... you just cn;t beat 'em! my little girl picked this lovely little bouquet of wild flowers from our garden yesterday. isn't it lovely? http://www.byebyebirdie.co.uk/sewlattedoughblog/2012/4/15/silent-sunday.html

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  20. This is brilliant and something I'm passionate about. I move to a house with a garden next week so this will be great to get me started. I've put the picture on my blog wanderingstarrs.blogspot.com and would love to have a go at growing the pulchino and lilliput zinnia mixes and the sweet sixteen cosmos. Can't wait!

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  21. Vanessa you are a wonder. Another brilliant campaign from you and it's great to see so many others getting on board with it. I am of course with you as I only ever buy British flowers and do try to grow some of my own too - not always successfully, but I'll try really hard with these :-S

    As well as the chocolate cosmos discussed, I'd love to have Cosmos Purity and Cosmos Rubenza as well if that's OK. Will do a post as soon as I have the seeds and am just going to follow @thompsonmorgan

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  22. Vanessa I love flowers around the house and always try to cut some blooms from my own garden where possible. I would love some seeds to pop in my garden to add to what is already there. My choice would be Sweet Pea Ballerina Blue and Elegant Ladies and Cosmos Purity. Good work bringing this to everyones attention.

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  23. I've just checked out your notice board and Blooming Green in Kent is coming up. I've never been but, since you can pick your own flowers as well as eat cake, it sounds like a wonderful starter for your Buy British Flowers Campaign. I'm not going to take part in the seeds contest as I'm hopeless with seedlings but it's a lovely idea and has certainly got everyone talking and thinking. GG

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  24. Hi I'd love to join in...sweet pea anniversary, Pulcina mixed and Cosmos Double click would be fab! Thanks Hope I get some...will email address to you Sara x

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  25. From local, seasonal home-grown UK-produced food to local, seasonal home-grown UK produced-flowers: That's what it's all about!
    Sweet peas - love to grow them amongst the vegetables to cut for the house
    Cosmos - so need some this year because they were always grown for us by Henry's Father who's sadly died aged 96.
    Zinnia - should love some of these because I've never grown them before.
    Any variety of any of the above really appreciated!
    Shall write about all this on my blog!
    http://lowerbuckton.blogspot.co.uk/

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  26. I have only just seen this! Would love to take part. Any 3 of the sweet peas would be great :-). Very excited! My blog is www.homemadebyfleur.wordpress.com

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  27. This is great news for us British Flower Growers, we are out there! Let me know if I can be of any assistance in your campaign. Chloe x

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  28. Great idea, glad to be on board. Looking forward to planting my seeds

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  29. Another great idea, we're trying to grow lots of flowers this year - including edible ones - which I'm finding trickier than growing our usual veg! Good luck with the campaign!

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  30. Please I'd like to join in i'd like the sweet dreams, candycane and rose bonbon varietys i'll tweet and in the process of setting up a blog I had a gorgeous cutting border at my allotment last year,it was too nice to cut!

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  31. I found your blog via Thompson & Morgan's FB page. I'm a bit late for the seeds, but I support the buy British flowers campaign completely. Looking forward to reading back over your previous posts.

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If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.