Project aims for cut flowers across the capital
Forget the florist, the nearest patch of waste ground will be the place to pick up a bunch of flowers if a new project by the Garden Museum in London takes off.
The museum is creating a winter cutting garden in its grounds to accompany an upcoming exhibition on the cut flower trade and is hoping to inspire gardeners to create similar plots on brownfield and meanwhile sites across the capital.
Planting in the museum’s garden has already begun and flowers and foliage will be harvested and sold as winter bouquets from February next year, when the ‘Flowers for Love or Money’ exhibition opens. Each bunch will be sold with seed mixes from the cutting garden and with a link to a website detailing where other cutting gardens could be created in the capital, information on growing the seeds and useful contacts.
“By growing and selling flowers alongside the exhibition we will hopefully be opening up a dialogue about the ethics behind the flowers we buy,” said Jess Turtle, manager of the Garden Museum. “The Garden Museum also regards ‘green infrastructure’ as a core strand in its programming. We are already involved in a dialogue about greening the city and encouraging a change in our urban environment: making it easier to plant flowers is part of this. We want to show people it’s not hard to grow flowers and it can increase your wellbeing and London’s landscape.”
The museum is creating the initial cutting garden with the help of four local community groups who will also be involved in harvesting and selling the flowers. Money raised will be invested back into the project.
“February is obviously very early so we are keeping our fingers crossed for early spring bulbs, and we will supplement these with foliage and stems,” said Turtle.
The bouquets will include narcissus such as ‘Tête-à-tête’ and ‘February Gold’, sarcococca, muscari and Iris reticulata along with ivy, holly, hazel and birch catkins, dogwood stems and euphorbia foliage and are intended to provide an alternative to the foreign flowers that are sold in shops during the winter.
“The winter cutting garden is a pilot project which will hopefully be the start of a more permanent cutting garden at the Garden Museum,” said Turtle.
The pilot is being funded by the Happy Museum project, a pioneering programme that looks at how museums in the UK can build links between sustainability, happiness and wellbeing.
‘Flowers for Love or Money – A History of the Cut Flower Trade’ opens on February 14th 2013, www.gardenmuseum.org.uk