Today is Back British Farming Day - some 3.9 million people in the UK work in agriculture – and we were proud to support the National Farmers' Union's campaign launch in London, creating the agriculture-inspired flowers (all British flowers!) at their event opposite the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
We were especially happy to help because we are passionate supporters of British Flower Farming - something that was commonplace until the 1940s, when land for flower farming was given over to food production. In some parts of the country you can still see the legacy of this: Cornwall, which was famed for daffodil growing, has hedgerows and verges filled with drifts of narcissi where farmers literally tossed them out of their fields and over the hedge!
While most of the flowers sold in the UK are imported, an increasing number of flower farmers and growers in the UK are returning to cut-flower production and it's now more common than it has been for years to find British flowers, even in your local supermarket. Look out for the Union Jack sticker on the likes of Sweet Williams, Stocks, Sunflowers, gladioli, tulips, ranunculus and many more.
At the NFU event, I used a mixture or herbs and flowers, from a meadow of cosmos, marigolds, helichrysum and zinnias in a 1920s wheelbarrow (thanks to the Old Garden Tools Museum for lending it to me!); to alstromeria, gladioli, hydrangea and dahlias, with blackberries and rose hips in vintage 10 gallon milk churns; and sunflowers, strawflowers, beech and corn and barley in farmhouse milk jugs. Outside a gazebo were garlands of fresh Kentish hops, picked just yesterday they still have a heady, intoxicating scent, and inside we filled a watering can with English lisianthus, scabious, clary sage, scented geranium leaf and fragrant English Margaret Merrill roses.
We love how they captured the season perfectly, and shone in the balmy September heat!
So next time you're at the supermarket, make sure you back British farming by buying British grown food AND flowers, so that our industry can continue to blossom.