Ben has been delivering his fantastic Alstroemeria to the shop for the last three and a half years, providing colour all year round. He has just been nominated as the BFA (British Florist Association) GROWER OF THE YEAR!! Now he needs our Vote to make sure he wins. As Ben says:
Voting starts Monday 15th July til 15th September and would be ace if you could help me out. If I make the final cut would be a great opportunity for me to speak about British Flowers on a big stage in front of lots of florist big wigs!
here is the link to the voting pages:
Ben is a fourth generation grower at Crosslands Flower Nursery which was established in 1936 in West Sussex and is one of the last flower nurseries producing cut flowers in a full colour range all year-round.
Ben’s British Alstroemeria is a very sustainable crop. His flowers are not sprayed with any chemicals after being harvested and go into recyclable, reusable boxes and arrive with customers the next day. No soil cooling techniques are used to force production and some flower beds are over 20 years old, still producing premium quality stems. Under 5% of the crop is replanted a year so sterilizing the soil is kept to a minimum.
The British Alstroemeria is known as a ‘Cool Crop’ and a ‘Dry Crop’ so doesn’t take much heat input or watering. Optimum heat at night through the winter is just 13°C via a biomass boiler and the crop is watered for just 20 minutes once a month in the winter and just 20 minutes once every 10 days in the summer unlike flowers grown in warmer countries that use a lot more water resource.
When Ben’s flowers have been picked they don’t go into big freezers, the cooling storage system at Crosslands is usually turned off between November and March. When the flowers need to be stored in warmer weather they’re only chilled at about 6°C instead of 0.5°C like most imported flowers. They are only stored for a couple of days before they are with the customers. They are a lot fresher than flowers that go all around the world. Most importantly all the stems are harvested at a ‘ripe’ big fat bud stage giving a bigger more vibrant flower unlike the imports that are harvested too tight so more can be transported in boats and planes.
Ben also only employs local people and more importantly does apprenticeship schemes with local horticultural colleges and goes into floristry colleges to give his British Flowers Rock Talks
Next to being a fulltime grower, Ben is an avid campaigner for British Flowers and takes any opportunity he can to spread the word that British Flowers Rock!
Find more on twitter and Instagram @alstroemeriaben and on facebook at Crosslands Flower Nursery.