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Dalemain House

sustainability

 

It is our belief that we all have a part to play in looking after the environment. We feel very strongly that this value should be reflected within our business model - especially when the business is built around celebrating the beautiful blooms that nature works so hard to  produce and sustain. 

so what are we doing?

foam free

We never have (and never will) use any floral foam within our arrangements. Aside from being a single-use plastic that is unable to fully decompose, floral foam is also highly toxic, causing  irritation to your eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Most importantly, it contains formaldehyde, which is classified as a probable carcinogen. So instead, we use a combination of moss, chicken wire and reusable vessels. 

no single-use plastics

We do not ever use single-use plastics. ​All of our bouquets come completely plastic free, tied with natural twine and wrapped in eco-friendly paper sleeves in place of more traditional cellophane wrap. If a water source is required to keep the bouquet fresh, this will be achieved through the use of eco-wraps, which can be soaked and wrapped around the base of the stem to provide moisture to each flower. Once delivered, these eco-wraps can then be washed in the washing machine and used as a dishcloth! 

Whilst we avoid single-use plastics, we do occasionally have to make some use of plastics within our work, most commonly in the containers which are used as water sources. These however are often made from recycled plastic and will be reused time and time again.

 

 british flowers

I am extremely passionate about working sustainably with seasonal, British flowers. I grow a very small number of flowers myself but I work really closely with a number of local flower farms, in and around the Lake District, who grow some incredibly beautiful flowers in a very nature-friendly way, avoiding all use of pesticides, caring for their soil and just allowing mother nature to do her thing.  I work closely with them to ensure that your bouquet or arrangement is made with the highest proportion of British flowers as possible. 

 

what difference does buying british actually make?

In short, lots!

 

Firstly, by buying naturally grown, seasonal, British flowers, you instantly decrease the carbon emission of your floral arrangements by around 90% - this was proven in a study by Lancaster University in 2018. This is not only due to the significant reduction in 'air miles' so to speak, but also due to differences in cultivation methods, with flowers imported from Holland being subject to intensive farming methods which use greater amounts of fertilizer, water, artificial light and heat.  

With such intensive farming, comes the need to protect crops and, ultimately, profits. Many of the flowers imported from Europe will therefore have been treated with pesticides, some so strong that they have been banned in the UK. By buying British flowers, you are therefore supporting farmers who prioritize nature over profit, inviting it in and allowing them to thrive amongst the flowers. 

Finally, by buying naturally grown, seasonal, British flowers, you - the customer - actually receive a much more enjoyable product. Unlike the flowers that are imported from Europe and Africa, the flowers sourced through local, British flower farms, are not sprayed with preservatives, meaning they will not only open more fully, giving you a much more beautiful bloom, but that they will be able to release their beautiful natural scent. Trust me when I tell you that no other flowers will fill a room with such wonderful scent as natural, seasonal, British blooms. 

what happens if your local growers don't have the flower that I really want or I'm getting married in winter?

If there are any flowers that can't be sourced from my local flower farmers, I try, wherever possible, to source these from larger flower farms within the UK - most often further down the country. If this is still not possible, I will buy in flowers from further afield. 

 

why does a sustainable floral design company import flowers?

Unfortunately, in the UK, we just do not have the climate to be growing flowers year around. Flowers really start to struggle once the days begin to shorten and the temperatures drop, and most British growers seasons will end with the first frost (often late October). With little investment in horticulture by the UK government (that would support flower farmers to install greenhouses and polytunnels to extend their season) florists are left with little choice but to use imported flowers during Winter. Whilst this inevitably means that your flowers then come with air miles attached to them, there are further factors that contribute to the sustainability of each stem, that we take into consideration, meaning we import as ethically as possible - for both the planet and it's people.

These include:

The amount of artificial light, heat and subsequently, amount of water, required to grow

The use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used

How ethically the land (and it's water source) has been sourced for growing on

How fairly the farm workers are paid.

 

We endeavor to only import flowers from fair trade flower farms, ensuring that the flowers have been grown in naturally warmer climates (eliminating the need for artificial heat), on ethically sourced land, by farmers that are paid fairly for the work that they do!

 

It is through importing in this way (responsibly), that we are able to continue working as sustainably as possible through the Winter months (both for the planet, it's people and our business), so we are then able to continue supporting British growers when their growing season comes back around. 

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