Zanna Hoskins, Spindle Flowers (formerly Champernhayes Flowers and Foliage)
It’s British Flowers Week and three Flowers from the Farm members are in the July edition of the RHS magazine so I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and bang the drum for British Flowers, because there’s no doubt that what we can grow in this country in terms of scent, shape, freshness is amazing!
We also offer knowledge about our flowers and foliage, about the plants, and about how they perform in the vase and under what conditions. We can advise our customers about what will last well and look wonderful together, and suggest to florists which seasonal materials will suit their particular brief - something they absolutely cannot get from a webshop. We offer a wonderful alternative to the material hitherto available to contemporary florists and flower lovers, and we’re helping the UK to return to a time when flower imports were the exception rather than the rule.
As a flower farmer and a florist I spend a fair amount of time experimenting with foliages and foraged material to learn how they behave at different times of the year, as well as different stages in the maturity of the plants. British flowers growers are rekindling knowledge, common in the time of Constance Spry, about how to cut and condition seasonal ingredients. I'm passionate about re-discovering and sharing this knowledge so that the next generation of florists and flower-lovers can make use of the treasures growing under their noses.
For me it’s not just about the environmental or moral issues of importing flowers, it’s about the look too. Even in the winter, personally, I prefer an oak branch covered in lichen and a bunch of honesty seed pods to a vase of ramrod-straight flowers with no scent. Those of us who use British flowers and foliage truly appreciate that we have special materials to work with. We can make the most of scent, colour, texture and form to create our arrangements, and I think the results stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
Covid-19, lockdown, and #blacklivesmatter have changed things. We want to change the flower world too. My hope is that florists and flower buyers around the world will start to make a firm commitment to supporting their independent local flower growers rather than buying in flowers from other countries or from companies that do not share profits with their growers. I urge everyone to follow in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, who said
“Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
For those of you in the UK who love what we produce, believe in British Flowers and settle for nothing less!
(photo credit @wildwoodmoth)