My Responsibility to the environment
As a Grower
I always consider myself a grower first and florist second, with that said i would say that mother nature is responsible for the growing and i am just the caretaker for the environment that the flowers grow in. It is important for me to grow as naturally as possible and maintain balance for the eco system of micro biology, mini beasts, plants and flowers i grow.
I have for a few years started a journey into Korean farming principles, using what is around in nature to balance and maintain without the use of harsh chemicals. I am pursuing the principles of closing the gap on waste and introducing micro culture into my soil as well as reducing the carbon footprint of what i want to achieve by bring true grown flowers to local people around me.
This journey started by looking at the waste we as a family produce this led to me making LAB lactic acid bacteria a superior micro bacteria that out competes bad pathogens it has many uses one of which is in KNF bokashi, taking carbon and natural waste from the household and fermenting this into a compost, liquid fertilisers and soil drenches filled with micro biology. I then went on further into vermiculture and i have a number of worm bins that take some of this bokashi and give my meadow in return a different variety of complex micro organisms from the worm casting and worm teas all used as foliage feeds or seedling soil boosts. I also create JMS Jadam Micro organism solution as well as different fermented plant juices, egg shell vinegar extracts, and use mycorrhizal soil mixes to slowly inoculate the soil in my meadow. We even make our own live culture yogurt and nothing is wasted and have discovered the live bacteria whey is another great discovery that benefits my plants. The idea is to include and create as much diverse micro biology in my soil to benefit the everything that feeds on this from bugs to plants.
I am new to Korean natural farming principles with still much to learn as the topic is vast i continue educating myself and enjoy the curiosity of trying new KNF methods to increase micro biology to support the plants and flowers i grow as well as not harming the minibeasts that help deal with pests.
I also keep chickens which are my big fluffies that you may see walking about the flowers if you visit, their role is important they are great for pecking at pests, giving me the calcium for my eggshell extracts and super poo fertiliser for the soil.
I use as much stored rain water as possible and limit mains watering unless it is really needed, i also use peat free compost where ever i can.
I run my meadow on a no till principle to keep intact the micro organisms and nutrients in the soil, and add to the beds each year with a combination of local mushroom compost and meadow made compost from all the plant waste in autumn which is chipped and shredded down. When creating the meadow all the grass turf was turned into nutritious loam, it took 2 years with the help of the chickens working the turf to create the first piles of loam which i am still working my way through to feed the beds. I have also started exploring the benefit of interplanting and how different roots can help the structure of the soil as well as how different plants can support each other.
I have a great army of mini beast predators in the meadow my favourite being a tiny scissor bee which is the smallest UK bee and is only 6 mm big. There are many insects that visit the meadow ladybirds and butterflies and of course the odd wasps not that you will be attacked by wasps so dont worry if you come and visit, did you know wasps are great at eating aphids just as much as ladybirds. If you visit my stall at a market you will always see my flowers on display with bumble bees and hoverflies attracted to my flowers evidence that no bad chemicals are used.
Over the last 4 years I have planted approaching 100 trees and shrubs in my meadows and gardens providing new habitats for insects, birds and small mammals. I recently learnt that for a bluetit baby to reach maturity it needs a 100 caterpillars a day so i am not so embarrassed about the many nettles and weeds growing around the meadow.
As a Florist
I do not use plastic to wrap my flowers in, can you imagine the amount of bunches I sell in a year and how much plastic I would be responsible for put out into the environment all which would still be around long after we are all dead just for a bunch of flowers, all my flowers are wrapped in paper. Imagine now all the florist and supermarkets out their selling flowers just today all wrapped in plastic that basically gets ripped off as soon as they are delivered and put in the bin and the chemicals used that went into raising those flower now imagine the year ! Let not even talk about Valentine’s Day ! Unfortunately plastic is a part of every day life so i reuse and recycle plastic pots i choose plastics that are long wearing.
I will never ever use floral foam to create arrangements, again another awful product that does not break down causing harm to the environment and marine life as it makes its way into our water systems, it has been reported that foam takes over a 1000 years to break down. All my work is done the old fashion way using vases, chicken wire or sustainable moss. Mother Nature has provided these beautiful flowers Which we enjoy for up to 10 days and I am making that choice of not using plastic, foam and chemical that will have such a devastating effect on our planet for a 1000 years.
Climate change is everyone’s responsibility and many of us making the smallest changes can make a big difference, buying flowers from a local farmer rather than choosing to buy imported flowers from florists and supermarkets makes a real difference to climate change. 90% of flowers sold in the UK come from overseas these flowers have a carbon dioxide emission of 30kg per bunch compared to 1.7kg from a local grower! as a comparison a Christmas dinner for 6 people has the carbon emissions of 19kg which really throws that bunch of flowers into prospective. (fact source Rebbecca Swinn Lancaster university, The carbon footprint of British cut flowers)
I want to thank all of you that choose to support my business and ethos to working and raising flowers for you to enjoy!
thank you Helen