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Cheap flowers have a high environmental cost | Letter


Frances Ryan (Cake and inner calm: 10 ways to improve your mood – without exercising, 23 February) shared a range of lovely mood-boosting tips for looking after your mental health – in particular for people who cannot exercise because of illness, injury or disability.

The £3 bunch of roses to add to a supermarket delivery that she suggests seems a cheap mood boost, but comes with hidden costs to the environment, as these out-of-season roses, probably imported from Holland or Kenya, will have a high carbon footprint.

According to Rebecca Swinn of Lancaster University, a bouquet of field-grown flowers from a small grower in the UK will have the smallest carbon footprint, at an average of 5% of the Dutch or Kenyan grown equivalent.

There is a growing movement for “grown not flown”. The nationwide organisation Flowers from the Farm has contact details for ethical local producers, and growers such as Cel Robertson of the Forever Green Flower Company are campaigning for sustainability and change. Robertson promotes the use of seasonal blooms throughout the British growing season between March and October, without the use of chemicals, cellophane or single-use plastic.

The business of buying and selling flowers is complicated and there are questions to consider, whether buying flowers on a large scale for a wedding, or purchasing a small bunch to cheer yourself or a friend up.
Celia Spears
Northwood, London



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