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Buying local flowers

Britons spend an average £28 each on cut flowers each year, much of it on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. With the huge growth in imported blooms, a typical flower arrangement bought in the UK could have travelled a total of more than 27,000 miles to reach florist or supermarket. Most roses given on Valentine’s Day will not have been grown in English country gardens but will have come from the Netherlands.

Flowers found in more exotic mixed bouquets could include Protea or Brunia which could have travelled 2,000 miles from Israel. And many of the carnations sold in Britain come all the way from Kenya, Chile, Ecuador or Colombia.

Environment campaigners are now asking the public to think about the cost to the planet before they splash out – and go for home-grown blooms rather than those which have been transported halfway around the globe. Campaigners warn that as well as adding to greenhouse gases through aviation or road transport costs, moving flowers around the world can also put pressure on precious water supplies in developing countries.

Vicki Hind of Friends of the Earth said: “Our concerns are in terms of greenhouse gases and the use of chemicals and water.”

Andrea Caldecourt, of the Flowers and Plants Association, replied that most of the red roses given on Valentine’s Day come from the Netherlands, and travel by ferry and road rather than air. Other popular choices such as tulips are likely to be home-grown, she said, while scented narcissi often come from Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Here are the places that most cut flowers in the UK are actually grown:

Roses – Chile
Tulips – Holland
Leucadendrons – Holland
Cape Greens – South Africa
Brunia – Israel
Lisianthus – Israel
Alstroemeria – Kenya
Protea – South Africa

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