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Scented, spring cut flowers grown by members of Flowers from the Farm across the United Kingdom are set to decorate the Quire and the Grave of the Unknown Warrior of Westminster Abbey for the Coronation Ceremony. The flowers are a gift to Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla from the not-for-profit membership association that champions nearly 1000 artisan growers of local, seasonal cut flowers and foliage.
For the past few months, Flowers from the Farm has been working closely with floral designer Shane Connolly to bring the beauty, joy and variety of seasonal UK-grown blooms to the heart of this historic occasion.
In total, 88 career flower farmers representing all four nations of the UK, from Inverness and Norfolk to Snowdonia, Cornwall and Tobermore in Northern Ireland, have cut over 120 different varieties of spring-flowering bulbs, blossoms, perennials and flowering foliages for the celebrations.
The flowers have been grown in harmony with the natural seasons using sustainable methods, outdoors and in polytunnels on flower fields, allotments, cutting gardens and walled gardens. Since every plot has its unique growing and weather conditions, the displays in Westminster Abbey of thousands of flowers, including over 1500 tulips, will reveal a unique floral tapestry of springtime in the UK.
Nestled amongst the arrangements will be hellebores and hazel harvested on a croft on the Isle of Skye, apple blossom, Solomon’s seal and euphorbia from Perthshire, crab apple from Aberdeenshire and aquilegia, tulips and honesty from the fields of Yorkshire. There will be lilacs and wallflowers from Tobermore in Northern Ireland, ranunculus, Narcissus ‘Pheasant Eye’, lily-of-the-valley, forget-me-nots and bluebells from Somerset and historic tulips from Wiltshire. Growers in Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia have selected tulips, ranunculus and rosemary for the historic occasion, and trailing stems of honeysuckle have been cut in Buckinghamshire and branches of ornamental cherry from Norfolk.
Shane Connolly said: “The honour of being asked to design and coordinate the flowers for the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen, is the highlight of my career. But I wanted the flowers to be centre stage, not the design. They had to reflect the sentiment of the day, and be from the soil of the United Kingdom; a natural tribute to a nature loving King and Queen. Flowers from the Farm and the RHS have made that idea possible; their growers working in harmony with the soil and the seasons to produce flowers that reflect the very best of British gardening and flower growing. The enthusiasm and dedication of each and every Flower Farmer and gardener has been humbling; working together to bring the simple beauty of Nature into Westminster Abbey, as our gift to The new King and Queen.”
Flowers from the Farm members teamed up to relay buckets of fresh flowers to local hubs then on to the Gloucestershire flower farm of Jo Wright and Wendy Paul, Co-Chairs of Flower from the Farm, where they were sorted and prepared for Shane Connolly to arrange at Westminster Abbey.
Jo Wright, Co-Chair of Flowers from the Farm said: “We are delighted and honoured to be involved in this historic event, which places British flowers and small-scale growers centre stage. It has been a pleasure collaborating with Shane Connolly on the design and with Flowers from the Farm members from all corners of the UK to showcase the beauty and rich diversity of this season’s crops.”
The Coronation marks a landmark moment for the global flower farming movement. It demonstrates that local, seasonal flowers deserve to be seen at state occasions just as much as they do in bridal bouquets, funeral tributes or vases in the home.
Gill Hodgson, Founder and now Honorary President of Flowers from the Farm said: “It feels as though flower farming has come of age and I could not be prouder of Flowers from the Farm. A decade ago, we were told that our flowers were just for bunting and jam jars, so to see them in Westminster Abbey designed by Shane Connolly, an internationally acclaimed floral designer, will be a very special moment. We have spent weeks planning and imagining our flowers in the very formal historic setting. It is incredible to think that the flowers that were just a few days ago growing in my field in Yorkshire are now going to be on display to the world in a building of national importance on such a momentous occasion.”
Following the celebrations, the flowers will be repurposed by the charity, Floral Angels, and gifted to care homes, hospices, shelters and other vulnerable members of the community.
Flowers from the Farm is the award-winning not-for-profit membership association championing nearly 1000 independent, artisan growers of local, seasonal cut flowers across the UK. Today, 85% of the UK population lives within 30 miles of their local flower farmer.
Members of Flowers from the Farm are career flower farmers and farmer-florists. They cultivate over 1000 acres on cutting gardens, allotments, walled gardens and farmland from Inverness to the Isles of Scilly.
The most sustainable cut flowers you can buy are from a local, professional flower farmer, cultivating outdoors or in polytunnels in their natural season. They typically have just 5% of the carbon footprint of an imported bunch. Flowers grown in the UK represent only 14% of the flowers sold in the country.
For more information on Flowers from the Farm and to find your local flower farmer, visit www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk
This story was published on: 05/05/2023
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