It’s no secret that the cut flower industry isn’t too kind on the environment. From Holland to Italy, to Israel to Kenya, flowers are grown and imported all over the world, just like a lot of our food.
In order for us to offer our bouquets all-year round, in the quantities that we need, we have to import flowers from places where they grow plentifully through winter in heated glasshouses or warmer climates. We work hard to reduce our impact on the planet in all other parts of our business. Our packaging is all recyclable or biodegradable, we use a carbon-neutral delivery service, we grow as many of our own flowers as we can and most importantly we donate 100% of our end of year profits to conservation projects in the UK.
When we moved our family from London to Cornwall in May 2020, the additional space and the mild climate meant we were presented with the opportunity to start growing our own flowers, so we could also offer our customers a selection of seasonal flowers that weren’t imported, but grown on our own doorstep. We now have two commercial size polytunnels (affectionately named Brenda and Bertha), rows upon rows of outdoor beds and a budding flower farm of our own.
We continue to use imported flowers in our weekly bouquets so we are able to offer our customers our well-loved Petalon bouquets all year round, however we now also offer a super seasonal selection of flowers with our Field Flowers, making British flowers more accessible, wherever you live. These flowers are grown on our farm in Cornwall and sold as stems to arrange at home, as and when we have availability, acting a bit like an ever-changing ‘chef’s special’ menu.
At Petalon, our focus is to provide our customers with unusual and interesting flowers in an affordable and considered way. With our own farm, we’re in control of what we grow, so we’re able to source unusual and exciting varieties that you can’t buy on the Dutch auction, which we know our customers will love. We’re also able to make full use of any green waste we make on site, composting it to be used on our farm, where it feeds back into the growing cycle once again. The net result of all this is that both our business and our products are now certified carbon neutral.
We currently have 25 acres on our farm. Half of this land we leave to the local wildlife. On the other half we grow flowers using no-dig practices that mean the soil is never tilled and that we add an enormous amount of organic matter to the soil. We do not use pesticides or artificial fertilisers under any circumstances. We keep a mixed herd of animals on our farm who function as walking lawnmowers and fertilisers, grazing our weeds and enriching the soil. They are pasture-fed all year round.
In the next year we intend to move up to 100 acres and are developing a unique approach to farming flowers on a larger scale that is kind to the planet. We’ll keep you updated on our progress in our blog.