I love flowers. I cut flowers, stems and leaves to bring indoors all year round. It’s lovely to enjoy seasonal flowers, which often flower for just a short while every year, somehow this makes the flowers even more precious. I appreciate and value what’s in season now, in the UK we have beautiful, British grown cut flowers and plants that we all can enjoy if we know where to find them.
Flowers make such a wonderful gift. If you’re thinking of buying flowers for a loved one, maybe for Valentine’s Day or for another special occasion, don’t forget to think seasonally; there are so many charming and beautifully scented flowers you could buy that would make a truly special and heartfelt gift. Many people associate roses with Valentine’s Day, but it’s worth remembering that imported roses will have been picked quite a long time ago by the time the recipient receives them, and won’t last very long. British cut flowers are fresher and I think more charming, so let’s celebrate the season and revel in our British grown flowers.
I’ve contacted lots of suppliers of British grown cut flowers to find out what’s available and where you can purchase quality British grown flowers and plants for Valentine’s Day. British grown Anemones are likely to be in short supply, with just a limited amount available for Valentine’s Day 2015, but many varieties of beautifully fragrant Narcissus, Tulips, Alstroemeria, Hellebores, Hyacinths, Iris, Lilies, Camellia, Ivy, Magnolia, Mahonia, Mimosa, Muscari, Ranunculus, pussy willow, ornamental cabbages, Snowdrops, Violets and Viburnum are available. I’d like to encourage you to buy seasonal, British Grown flowers and to support our British Growers. Here’s a look at the beautiful British grown cut flowers that are available now, with information on where you can order them:
At Wiggly Wigglers all their flowers are British grown, they don’t import any of their flowers. Many of Wiggly Wigglers’ flowers are grown on their farm in Herefordshire, but when the weather is very cold they have a supplier in Cornwall who helps out with Cornish grown flowers. They have lots of colour and scent in their Valentine bouquets, which feature lots of pretty spring flowers including: Ranunculus, Narcissi, Alstroemeria, ornamental cabbages, Lilies, Chrysanthemum and even Freesias. Their pretty Valentine’s posies feature Hyacinths, Tulips, Narcissi, Alstroemeria and pussy willow.
Wiggly Wigglers have had so much success with their British flowers that they have set up a separate brand, Great British Florist, which specialises in British flowers.
At Easton Walled Gardens in Lincolnshire, when they started renovating and restoring the gardens, thousands of snowdrops were discovered growing, hidden from view in the undergrowth. The snowdrops were probably planted in Tudor times and have multiplied and spread, forming colonies of pretty nodding white flowers each February. Easton Walled Gardens send out bunches of ten flowering snowdrop bulbs, freshly lifted from the gardens. The variety they send out is Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop, which is easy to grow and thrives on many different soil types; it will grow happily in clay, chalk and sandy soils. The honey scented flowers are a delight at this time of year. The flowering snowdrop bulbs are posted out in a protective tube surrounded by tissue, the snowdrops are wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon; they make a lovely present that can be enjoyed every Valentine’s Day, as the snowdrops should re-flower each February and will over time multiply in your garden. The snowdrops can be planted straight out into the garden or enjoyed inside first. This gift comes with full planting instructions, so an ideal gift for a novice gardener as well as any galanthophiles. I have checked with the gardens and they have lots of snowdrops available for purchase.
Becky Groves’ Grandfather started the Groves Nurseries‘ collection of violets in the 1960’s; this family run business holds the National Collection of Sweet and Parma Violets. The collection is on show from January until March each year while the violets are flowering; this is also when the full range of varieties are available for purchase. Some, but not all, of their violet varieties are available to purchase all year round. They grow about 2500 violet plants a year; the Violets are available for purchase directly from Groves Nursery in Bridport, but happily they are also available online. The violet plants are sold in 12cm pots, the majority are priced at £3.99, some of the more unusual and rare varieties are more expensive, they also sell violet seed.
Naturally Becky’s favourite violet is Viola odorata ‘Becky Groves’, which her father bred and named especially for Becky – how lovely! Becky’s violet has a sweet fragrance, but not all violets are strongly scented; if you’re looking for scented varieties, choose odorata or parma types as they have a beautiful scent. If you’re looking to purchase some violets, here are some recommended varieties: our native sweet violet, Viola odorata and its white form Viola odorata alba, Viola odorata ‘Princess of Wales’, which used to be grown on a large scale as it’s a super cut flower, Viola odorata ‘Koningin Charlotte’, Viola odorata ‘Charles William Groves’, and Viola ‘Parme de Toulouse’, which is still widely grown in France for the cut flower industry today.
The ‘Violet Train’ used to carry violets from the South West to London to sell at the flower markets, these days many of the flowers sold at the London markets are imported from abroad and consequently many of us miss out on receiving a posy of violets. Groves Nurseries sell posies of violets during February when their violets are in flower. The posies are sent out by post, there are 20 highly scented violets in each posy and they come in a lovely range of colours. The posies are £5 each, postage is £5.99 per parcel. Due to the unpredictable nature of the British weather and violet flowering times, the nursery take orders over the phone for their violet posies: telephone 01308 422654 for more information and to place an order.
At Tregothnan they are committed to only growing and supplying English flowers, which they grow on their estate or source from local growers. They have a number of Narcissi varieties available now including Narcissus ‘Paper White’, Narcissus ‘Grand Primo’, Narcissus ‘Island Pride’, Narcissus ‘Soleil d’Or’ and Narcissus ‘Hugh Town’; all highly fragrant varieties. They also have beautiful English grown Tulips, Alstroemeria, and Anemones, Camellia available.
Fentongollan, a family run business, have Cornish grown daffodils available for Valentine’s Day. Fentogollan grow over 400 varieties of daffodil in their field. Some daffodil cultivars flower earlier in the season than others, so a bouquet of daffodils from Fentongollan sent in January, will be different from the bouquets of daffodils sent over the following months. Fentongollan’s daffodils are hand-picked and packed on their farm in the Fal estury.
Common Farm Flowers, run by husband and wife team, Georgie Newbery and Fabrizio Boccha, grow absolutely beautiful British cut flowers on their farm in Somerset. Rather than have someone else arrange flowers for your beloved, if you would like to arrange your own posy but would like some guidance and tuition on how to do it and some wonderful British grown flowers to arrange, Common Farm Flowers is holding a course on Valentine’s Day morning where you can learn just that. You could make your very own hand-tied posy and an accompanying willow heart for your true love; the willow used on the course is all grown on the farm and the pretty flowers are freshly cut from fields in the west country, places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. Common Farm Flowers also run gardening and flower farming related workshops on subjects ranging from Flower Farming for Beginners to Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers.
Waitrose have a range of British grown plants and cut flowers.
If you are a florist inspired to use British grown flowers in your arrangements and posies, Flowers by Clowance are a wholesaler who can fulfil your needs; they also sell directly to retail customers. Another option is New Covent Garden Market in London.
Other articles that may interest you…………………
To read an updated article featuring a longer list of florists who will be using beautiful, British grown flowers for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day 2017, please click here.
For information on buying Snowdrops ‘in the green’, please click here.
To read my review of Trug Makers No. 7 trug, a traditionally made, hand-crafted Sussex trug, made by a family business that offer next day delivery, please click here.
For information and advice on using Daffodils as cut flowers, please click here.
To read the results of my 2015 Sweet Pea Trial and find out about my experiences as I try to find out when is the best time of year to sow Sweet Peas to achieve the maximum number of cut flowers, please click here.
If you’re looking to plant up a special container as a gift, I hope this article about peat-free compost and container growing will help you, please click here.
For information on purchasing heritage, exhibition or Daffodil bulbs for garden use, please click here.
To read an article about Daffodils, please click here.
For information about bottle gardens and terrariums, please click here.
To read my long-term review of the BiOrbAir, a specialised automated terrarium made by Reef One, please click here.
To read about the special features of the BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.