Tag Archives: Ecologist

penny’s gardening blog: why it’s good to grow your own cut flowers & herbs

penny

Growing your own is fun, gets you outside and is good exercise. Herbs and flowers encourage bees and butterflies into your garden. Our Riverford Box to Grow flower kit provides you with an instant cut flower garden and within weeks you’ll be picking flowers for several months to bring into your home and give to friends. Our herb kits will bring you handfuls of fresh aromatic culinary flavours to add to your meals and mix in with your cut flowers.

Lorna and Julien 028

So if you like a project, there are just a few days left to order our Riverford Flower Box to Grow & Herb Box to Grow. Shop bought flowers are expensive and often the choice is pretty dull. The majority of flowers sold in this country are air freighted from Africa and Columbia. Whilst you think you may be supporting the people in these poor third world countries,  the risk is that they are mostly women and children, poorly paid and the workers suffer from the chemicals used.  Plus you don’t have the pleasure of watching your seeds and plants growing steadily in pots, on window sills or in your garden.

Any of you that tried them last year may have had mixed results due to the bad weather we all experienced, however weather conditions this year are already more favourable. We have also got some new additions to what’s in the box this year – the seedlings are bigger and stronger and we have worked on the packaging so that when the plants are in transit they are more stable. We’ve got some new varieties so now you get some Dahlias and Ammi’s in the mix. All round a much better mix with plenty of bee- and butterfly-friendly varieties.

Environmental impact

I read an article by Pat Thomas, called Behind the Label, in the Ecologist back in 2009, which I feel sums up the problem with imported flowers. Although conditions have improved greatly since the article was written, I still feel that it illustrates why growing your own for a bit of fun is better than buying imported flowers from further afield – when the floriculture industry first moved in to Kenya, to Lake Naivasha (where the majority of Kenyan flowers are grown), the lake shrunk to half its original size and the water levels dropped three metres. Due to irrigation of the flowers grown on its shores, its native hippos were threatened by the pollution in the lake and fish catches are dwindling (putting local fishermen out of business).

Since the article was written there have been improvements to conditions in the area, however I still feel strongly that it is best to grow your own locally rather than fly them in from all over the world. To see more on improvements since 2009 click here.