It was back in August that we decided that we would grow some cut flowers. Initially the idea was to dedicate a small area of the vegetable garden to a different “crop” so that we would have fresh cut flowers for the house as well as vegetables for the pot. But then the idea grew. We have a large garden, which we have to maintain anyway, so why not grow extra flowers for cutting and selling?
The cut flowers that are available from the supermarkets, and from many florists, have been flown miles from countries such as Kenya. In fact, only about 10% of cut flowers available in the shops today are British. Travelling miles across the globe means that sometimes the flowers are cut 6-8 days before they reach the shop, and then a couple of days before they’re bought. As a result of this, chemical treatments are used to prolong their life. In addition, flowers are often grown in places where the use of damaging pesticides and fungicides are not as regulated as in the UK, which raises questions about workers’ health and pollution of the environment. The requirement to last the long journey also means that the selection on offer at the supermarket is limited. There’s no way a poppy could last such a journey.
We decided that, like locally grown food, we wanted to produce something local, different, beautiful and ethical, and give shoppers the opportunity to buy a more eco-friendly cut flower. Our flowers will be grown near Muir of Ord from seeds, plantlets and cuttings, and will not be exposed to, or treated with, unnecessary chemicals. We will be using recycled, recyclable and compostable materials wherever possible and using peat free compost as growing medium for seedlings and cuttings. At the moment, we plan to start selling at Farmer’s Markets on the Black Isle when the Narcissus arrive in April, and continue up until the first frosts in the autumn. If things go well, we may be able to sell at some local independent shops and also provide local fresh flowers for DIY weddings.
Work has already started. Part of the polytunnel has been set aside for hardy annual seedlings, such as Snapdragon, Nigella, Larkspur, Sweet peas, Cornflowers, Gardinia and more. We’ve planted Rannunculus, Anenome, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus, Aliums and Tulips in the tunnel and in the borders outside. Already things are doing well!
In the coming blog posts I will describe in more details some of the flowers we will be growing, what they look like, how they are being grown and when they will be ready. Hopefully we will see you at some of the farmer’s markets in the area when the spring arrives!