Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Valentine's Day flowers - long distance relationship

British blooms are competing with rival flowers from overseas Photo: ITV

We spend millions of pounds on the tradition every year, but have you ever given much thought to where those flowers come from in the first place?

Nearly 90 per cent of cut flowers sold in the UK now come from abroad. Figures from the NFU show over the past thirty years, the value of imports has grown from around £122 million a year, to £666 million.

At The Flower Shop in Littlehampton in West Sussex, they're finding it harder to get hold of British-grown flowers. Their stock now come from all over the world with red roses from Equador, carnations from Columbia and many other types of flowers from Holland.

They do receive Alstromeria from a local supplier - the Crosslands Nursery in Walberton, near Arundel. It is a family business which has been going for four generations but the boom in foreign imports is having an impact on them.

"It's ridiculous we've got to this point. We're only three acres here but we throw away tens of thousands of stems a year because supermarkets, wholesalers - they're just getting the cheap foreign imports and you just can't compete."

– Ben Cross, Horticulturist

Ben Cross from the nursery is trying to raise awareness and promote British flowers, which he says are fresher, more sustainable and have a much lower carbon footprint. He hopes his campaign will help boost the British flower growing industry.

The interviewees in Lauren Hall's report are Michelle Bly, a florist from Sussex; and Ben Cross, a Sussex-based horticulturist.