Best of a bad bunch


There’s nothing I love more than fresh cut flowers to brighten up my little terraced house.  It’s amazing how a bright bunch of blooms can lift your spirits and make you feel slightly spoiled.

I picked up five bunches of daffodils for just £3 from a vendor in the Bullring and they are easily the best thing I’ve purchased in months.

But even flowers can make you feel guilty.  

Nine out of ten of the top selling blooms in the UK are imported, mainly from Africa and South America.  Bad pay, long hours and exposure to pesticides are common conditions for female growers in Kenya and Columbia.  And even flowers from the Netherlands come with high environmental costs.  Our demand for “fresh” flowers flown means tons of air and land freight miles, water, refrigeration and packaging, just to name a few.

So can a girl ever feel good about getting flowers again?

Thankfully there are a still few ways you can smell the roses:

– Buy native species grown seasonally in the UK.  These include: freesia, iris, roses, narcissi, tulips, delphiniums, chrysanthemums and daffodils

– Look for a fair trade label on imported flowers, but consider your purchase carefully.  The Guardian’s consumer affairs editor, Felicity Lawrence wrote a great column on the problems behind Fair Trade cut flowers.

– Take time to stroll through one of Britain’s many parks or gardens to appreciate blooms in their natural state.   I took this picture last week in the gardens at Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford upon Avon.

Daffodils in the garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford upon Avon

– Or grow your own stems in the garden.  You don’t need a green thumb to do this – anyone with a bag of seeds can be succesful, just look at the results from my garden last summer.


For an amusing take on an amateur’s obsession with gardening, visit this Canadian expat’s blog.  Happy growing!

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1 Comment

Filed under Birmingham, cheap fun, ethical living, green living

One response to “Best of a bad bunch

  1. great advice! although i apply ethics to nearly everything, i don’t think i’ve considered the flower business before… could be because i don’t buy many or because i usually buy locally at the farmer’s markets.

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