Scented flowers with a low environmental impact
Wrapped only in paper
In 2018 we stopped using single use plastic flower sleeves and ribbon making our boxes of scented flowers nearly plastic free and, we think, more stylishly presented. Obviously, the flowers and foliage have always been biodegradable but now all our packaging, apart from a few elastic bands and the sachets of flower food, is paper or card. And because our Scilly flowers are grown outdoors in the UK without additional heat or light we don’t think there are many other gifts that leave a lighter environmental footprint.
Plastic free - really?
Of course, it is all very well and good to proclaim you are, ‘plastic free’ (well nearly) but if you don’t look at your plastic use and environmental impact as a whole business intelligently and thoroughly, ‘plastic free’ can become somewhat of a hollow marketing sham. We don’t believe that all plastic is evil, in some places it is the right material for the job, even in a single use context. For example, we can’t at the moment think of a suitable replacement for our flower food sachets and our pickers certainly wouldn't be without their wellies. As a business we have always tried to farm and operate in an environmentally responsible way, we aren’t perfect, but we will continue to strive to improve. Read on to find out more.
Low input flowers
Our winter crop of scented narcissi are grown outside without any additional light or heat from October to Easter making them very low input in terms of energy compared to flowers grown in heated and lit glasshouses. We are able to do this by taking advantage of our relatively mild island climate and growing them in small traditional fields sheltered from Atlantic gales by tall windbreak hedges.
We are of course surrounded by the stuff but on a small island fresh water is a very precious resource. We capture and store a lot of the water we use across the farm. Our winter crop rarely needs irrigating and in the summer our pinks are irrigated by a computerised system that trickles just the right amount of water and fertiliser into the coir troughs. The very nature of the troughs also minimises the amount of irrigation needed.
The flowers we grow are sent by boat and plane to the mainland with the rest of the islands' post. Because the flowers are delivered direct from where they are grown, compared to flowers that are imported from elsewhere their 'flower miles' are very low.
Why we aren't organic
Growing an aesthetic product, although not impossible, is very difficult to do organically. We have made the decision to farm environmentally responsibly and not be beholden to a set of principles that would sometimes constrain what we're able to do even if it were better for the environment.
Higher Level Stewardship
We operate our farm under a Higher Level Stewardship agreement (HLS). This means we have signed up to a list of things that we will do as we farm which are beneficial to the environment. Our agreement covers things such as cutting our hedges at a time of year that isn't harmful to nesting birds and cultivating some fields solely to benefit wildflowers.
Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust
We work closely with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust, our small beef herd carries out conservation grazing on the more wild side of St Martin's. This grazing increases biodiversity by keeping more dominant plant species in check allowing more diverse flora and fauna to thrive.