If you're thinking about ordering flowers online, you'll find a wide range of bouquets and arrangements to choose from.
Many of the cut flowers that we find in florists and supermarkets are grown abroad, in countries such as Holland and Kenya, but there are also many flower farms in Britain. By buying British flowers, we can help to support our own commercial flower-growers, something that it is particularly important in the current financial climate.
Britain has an excellent flower-farming industry and some parts of the UK have gained great reputations for producing beautiful, sweet-smelling blooms. One of the primary regions for flower-growing in the UK is the Isles of Scilly.
The Isles of Scilly lie about 28 miles off of Land's End in the South-West of England. They consist of five inhabited islands (Bryher, St. Agnes, St. Martins, St. Mary's and Tresco) together with many uninhabited islands. The proximity of the Gulf Stream means that the Isles of Scilly benefit from warmer winters than the rest of the UK and rarely experience frost or snow, whilst also having slightly cooler summers than the rest of the country, making them the perfect location for flower farms.
Flower farming first began on the Isles of Scilly during the late nineteenth century and flowers quickly became one of the islands' main exports. During World War II, the industry began to suffer, as it became much more difficult to transport the flowers to the mainland, but Winston Churchill is said to have intervened in order to ensure that the flower farmers had access to fuel and transport after having been sent a bouquet of flowers from a flower farmer in the Isles of Scilly whilst he was in hospital. Since then, the Isles of Scilly flower industry has grown and is vital to the local economy. Flower farms on the islands are still very much family businesses, with many of them having been handed down through the generations.
The flower farms on the Isles of Scilly are best-known for growing narcissi. More than 25 varieties of narcissi (a genus of flower that includes daffodils and jonquils) are grown on the islands. Narcissi are usually white, yellow, peach or pink and many varieties are scented.
British flower farms also produce many other types of flower, including tulips and peonies. Tulips were originally found in the Middle East, but began to be grown commercially in Europe during the sixteenth century, particularly in Holland. Today, many tulips are grown on British flower farms. In Britain, tulips are usually harvested between January and April, so herald the start of warmer weather, and they are available in a wide range of varieties and colours.
Peonies are both beautiful and fragrant flowers, and you can find them in many shades, including white, pink and peach. Peonies traditionally symbolise luxury and indulgence, and are popular flowers to give as a gesture of romance. They are available from late May until early June.