Saturday, May 26, 2007

A different scale.

One of the things that bothers me about the cut flower industry is how, over the past couple of decades, we have become conditioned to buy what is most convenient for the large scale producers and importers.

90% of the flowers available to buy in the supermarket or florist shop conform to the size which will fit easily into a standard florist package box - smallish head, long straight stem. This cuts costs right down all along the production line from mechanised growing, spraying and harvesting to a certain number of boxes fitting onto a pallet or into a refrigerated van.

What has been lost is a sense of different scales - whether that is eight feet tall plume poppies or miniature astrantia - if it doesn't fit into the system you are unlikely to be able to get it. The most convenient is rarely also the most appropriate or attractive.

One of the flowers shops that I have come across via Amy Stewart's site is the Bonny Doon Garden Company which addresses this, producing a range of posies - many of which fit into a teacup like the one in the photo. I think that these are an ideal solution for those occasions when you want to send flowers - say to celebrate the birth of a baby - but know that the recipient will be inundated with flowers. An arrangement like this - our one is an an elegant C19th gold and white cup - can fit next to a bedside, comes ready arranged so it won't need another vase, and when the flowers fade there will be something left, a beautiful cup which will perhaps become a family heirloom. This one sold on Friday but I usually have a range available from £11.50 at the van, from £16.50 delivered within a 12 mile radius. They are also available as table centres for weddings and parties for when a "village fete" kind of feel is required - it is one way of getting a pretty vintage tea set, though I also loan the cups and saucers out.

I always feel sad when I see so many bunches of flowers propped in sinks or even just left on kitchen work surfaces as there are just no more vases to put flowers in.


Gigibird said...

what a great idea to use a cup and saucer - do you use oasis?

I collect old vases so I always have something to put flowers in, but have noticed just how long flowers are.

Pondside said...

Thought provoking - I'd never thought about the 'why' of the cut flower varieties.
I love you posie in a teacup@

Jane said...

I don't use oasis as it makes the arrangements too clumpy somehow and reduces the life of the flowers, particularly spring flowers with sappy stems.
With this cup I made a loose hand tied bunch - wrapped very loosely with string about 1 inch down from the heads - and then cut the stems very short. I am always amazed at quite how short the stems need to be. Often I cut the string once the bunch is in the cup.


Faith said...

That's a pretty idea using a cup. I often do things like that cos I've never got the right size vase. Its lovely you can do things like that for people who havent got country gardens.

I was buying flowers for someone last week and felt what was on offer was very depressingly similar.

Raindrops said...

Lovely flowers. I hope one day you do mail order Tricia

alice c said...

My mother always puts tiny posies in our bedroom when we come home with one of everything from the garden. I took it for granted when I was younger but now appreciate the love and thoughtfulness in the gesture. Now I do it for my daughter - in a vintage blue and white jug that she bought for me. This half term it was full of garden roses such as 'Boule de Neige' and 'Dr. van Fleet'.
Much nicer than shop-bought from Kenya - even if they are fair trade!

Milkmaid said...

my mother was a florist and because of rebelious nature have disliked bought flowers, with the exception of tulips, much rather be given a plant for the garden or even a packet of seeds

weirdbunny said...

I always like posies in jam jars. It always reminds me of when the children picked flowers for me when they were little. They never seemed to pick from the base stem, but from them middle to top, so a jam jar was the ideal size.

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

I just love small posies displayed in pretty china. If I lived out your way you can be sure I would buy many of your arrangements to pretty my house up with!