One of the main aims of Nature’s Posy is to grow flowers in harmony with nature. What does this mean in practice?
- Use of chemicals
Only organically certified pesticides are used to control thrips and occasionally aphids when natural predators are not able to control these. Ladybirds and hoverfly in particular are encouraged into the field as a biological control for aphids.
Nematodes are used to assist in the control of slugs, snails and carrot fly if necessary. Otherwise, slugs and snails are discouraged from eating plants by being re-located outside of the field. A slug barrier of copper or other such material is also sometimes used around delicate seedlings.
Weeds are left as an alternative food source for ‘pests’ such as caterpillars and slugs etc
A fungicide to control blackspot on roses is used if all other methods (such as removing infected leaves) does not provide enough control.
Chilli flakes, garlic or peppermint oil are used to discourage small mammals from eating bulbs and seedlings.
No other herbicides or fungicides are used.
All compost used is peat free. Compost is sourced from a wholesaler based as locally as possible and delivered in bulk to minimise transport requirements.
- Use of plastic pots
Plastic plant pots are used to raise seedlings prior to planting out. No new plastic is purchased; pots are recycled from other sources such as donations from people and ‘waste’ pots from the garden centre. All pots are re-used until they completely fall apart at which point they are put into the recycling bin if they are suitable for recycling. Cardboard inner tubes from toilet roll are also used.
- Resources; water and fertiliser
Water on-site comes from a bore hole at the farm. A drip irrigation system ensures that water is directed to where it is needed, into the soil. This minimises evaporation. Mulch is used to cut the need for watering, and plants are watered deeply every few days in the heat of summer rather than lightly every day. This uses as little water as possible.
Rainwater is harvested from the shed roof into a tank.
Mulch adds organic matter to the soil and helps to reduce the need for additional fertiliser. Where this is needed, organic fertilisers are used in the form of chicken manure, bonemeal, seaweed and comfrey. A no-dig approach protects the beneficial micro-organisms in the soil.
Newly cultivated beds are supported in the first year only by a synthetic fertiliser designed to add more phosphorous and potassium to what is otherwise a very nitrogen rich soil. This supports the process of balancing the soil in its first year.
- Packaging of flowers
Minimal packaging is used for flower bouquets. Smaller bouquets and posies are wrapped in kraft paper. Larger gift bouquets come in kraft gift bags with a wrap of tissue paper. A small biodegradable plastic ‘bubble’ to contain water is used if the weather is warm to ensure flowers do not wilt prior to delivery.
Deliveries are made locally using a hybrid electric car. As the distance travelled is minimal, it is usual that deliveries can be made using only the electrical charge of the vehicle and therefore no petrol.
- Use of floral foam
Floral foam is not used in any arrangement ever. Where mechanics are needed (i.e. the arrangement isn’t simply in a glass vase), moss and chicken wire or willow are used as a structure and to give moisture. Recycled plastic trays may be used, otherwise a tray of palm leaf, recycled bamboo or similar will be used.
Moss is always purchased from a sustainable and reputable source.
- Buying flowers in from other growers
Sometimes flowers and foliage is bought in from another grower, most typically in late winter / early spring when my own supplies are minimal. For this, I use BJ Richards, Flowers by Clowance, Evolve or another local flower farmer. Flowers and foliage from abroad are never purchased under any circumstances.
- Other suppliers
Bulbs are bought from overseas (primarily Holland) where a suitable source cannot be found in the UK. Seeds are bought from UK suppliers, or collected on my own flower field for sowing the following year.
Other sundries are bought as locally as possible. Sometimes this isn’t possible and items such as glass vases are made in China or other locations and supplied by UK based companies. If an alternative can be found it will be.
If a recycled option is possible this is what will be bought (such as glass or recycled bamboo pots).
An ethical approach to business is always what I am looking for, and as such I do read the sustainability policy of every company that I do business with.
- Supporting local business
Where possible I support other local business, such as my accountant, printing etc. If I can provide business for another local business, particularly a small business then I am keen to do this.