Scotland’s flower farmers are urging people to buy bouquets in the same way they shop for home-grown food.
They want to cut ‘flower miles’ and create more jobs and investment in the supply chain.
Around 80% of blooms on sale in the UK come from abroad, mainly from vast flower farms as far afield as Africa and South America.
A new organisation, Flowers Grown in Scotland, has been set up with the aim of providing a greener alternative to imports.
“About 80% of the cut flowers that come into the UK are imported and the air miles and the carbon footprint on that is huge,” said the group’s Claire Dyce.
“We can actually grow some of these varieties which are being imported; we can do it on far smaller air miles, carbon, chemicals and water usage.
“A lot of the public are more aware of buying local, supporting local businesses, and I really hope they can apply the same to flowers as they do to food and support the local industry.
“It’s got huge potential.”
Flowers which grow well in Scotland’s soil and climate include roses, dahlias, peonies, sunflowers, sweet peas, tulips and spring bulbs.
Daffodil farmer Kim McWilliam, from Laurencekirk, is part of the Grampian Growers Co-operative, which is a founding member of Flowers Grown in Scotland.
“Think about the carbon footprint if we’re importing all of our flowers from Holland, or all over the world,” she said.
“I bought a bunch of roses in a local shop and it had come from Kenya and I thought ‘how on earth did this bunch of flowers manage to get here when we can grow these flowers here?’.
“You just have to look in your garden, whatever you can grow there you can try to grow commercially.”
Anne Smith, of McConnell Blooms in Bankfoot, Perthshire, grows seasonal flowers and foliage to supply florists and create displays for special occasions and weddings.
She says her blooms can compete with their continental cousins.
“Tulips, for example, grow perfectly well here; they like the cool, they like to be planted in November preferably, have a nice cold winter to get their roots going,” she said.
“I sell locally into Birnam and Dunkeld, that’s fantastic for me, I don’t have to drive any distance at all and I like the idea that it’s staying within the community.
“The whole chain of supply and demand needs to be focused on and the group is hoping very much that if we give greater voice to the flowers being grown in Scotland, florists and consumers will become more aware and they’ll ask for it, like they have done with food.”