It was a busy summer for me this year with weddings nearly every weekend from mid June to early September. They varied in style and size from relaxed festival feel parties in fields to formal celebrations in grand college settings. I now have a little breathing space before gearing up for Christmas and wreath making - although I have already starting planning weddings for 2018 with some lovely couples.
Given the volume of flowers I've driven around the county this wedding season, filling my car to the roof on many occasion, I've taken what feels to be a momentous step and have just bought a delivery van. It was a bit of a challenge finding something with enough room for expansion that was still small enough to be manouevrable on Cambridge's narrow side streets but I hope my Nissan NV200 will turn out to be a great choice. I'm looking forward to getting some logos put on it and fitting the back out with some racking so that I can transport my flowery creations in less cramped conditions.
Rising flower prices
There has been a gradual rise of wholesale flower prices over the summer. Some of this is due to the changes in the Euro-Sterling exchange rate. With Brexit talks in process, the longterm affect on the UK floristry trade is still uncertain. UK florists represent a large part of the market for many Dutch exporters so I very much hope they will work to keep prices vaguely sane for us. Even flowers grown in Kenya or Singapore are traded through the Dutch auction houses in Euros before getting to us in the UK. Another influence on pricing has apparently been the impact of hurricane Irma on transportation of flowers (roses and carnations) from Ecuador and Colombia into the European markets. There has been a slight lowering of prices in the past week so perhaps this blip is now working itself through the system.
Given these fluctuations, the logical argument would be for me to use more British grown flowers and, indeed, I have a great local supplier who I can call upon for seasonal flowers and foliage. The downside with British seems to be that we're more susceptible to the vagaries of the weather: I had cornflowers on order from a large supplier this summer for a wedding but the crop was flattened by a storm; British lisianthus and asters finished earlier than expected because we had a warm spell at the wrong time and again my order was cancelled. UK supermarket chains also buy up entire season's crops of flowers from the growers so it means there can often be slim pickings for the individual florist. There has been a concerted effort to make British flowers more widely available for florists over the past couple of years so I hope we will have more varieties to choose from in the future. However, many of the large scale growers are in Cornwall and the Scilly Isles so some of the Dutch growers are actually closer to me here in East Anglia than those in the far South West of England. As my orders from Holland come by road and through the Channel Tunnel the argument for me 'Buying British' is not always that clear cut.