British Blooms The DEterioration ~ rise of British blooms over the last 30-50 years Elizabeth Baker - Globule issues in Floral design - Tutor Sam Cook Module Code: MY3507


Flowers have adorned our dwellings and been a part of humanity from the beginning of time. The last 50 to 30 years, however, has marked a gradual decline of British blooms occupying the hearts of the British household. The reason for this…. Britain’s failure to meet the demand of cut flowers...... This in turn directed an opening in the market, which consequently, led to the success of Royal FloraHolland; Aalsmeer’s Dutch import flower market.

Nonetheless, due to a recent rise in consumer awareness, a fresh demand for seasonal flowers and more recently the political implications of Brexit, the question, therefore, has to be asked.....‘Is the British cut flower industry at a turning point?’

Could this be a new opening creating an opportunity to take back some of the market?

18th October 2016

After some deliberation and research into global issues facing the world and today's florist, I chose to take a look at the position of British blooms over the past 30 - 50 years.......

But first I elected to take a brief look at the history of flower arranging....

25th October 2016

Where it all began.....


As previously mentioned flowers have played a significant and celebratory role in the history of the human race. However, it was during the Victorian era that rules were first considered when constructing floral arrangements. this period also witnessed the formation of the language of flowers. Each flower signified a meaning thus arrangements were created to convey a message.

1930's - 40's

The war years saw many florists being called up to fight during the war, this resulted in the women, who were left back home, to take over the business. One of the biggest problems facing the florist was the availability of flowers, as land became the main basis of food production. Flowers were scarce so considered a luxury. Fuel was also a scarce commodity making deliveries a difficult task.


The war years left a void in the florist industry. Many florists who went up to fight didn't return leaving behind a group of inexperienced florists. Concerned by this shortfall of skill and talent, Interflora arranged, to somehow, remedy this by initiating floral competitions. Workshops and demonstrations where held across Britain inspiring florist, and are still customary today.

The hard work paid off and by the end of the 1050's Interflora had become a shining example of expertise within the floral industry both at home and overseas.

Interflora, Our Heritage, The War Years (1930's - 40's), accessed October 2016 via:

27th October 2016

Design Concepts

Initial thought process

Spider Diagram of British symbols

British Symbols

At present, having established a topic, my thoughts brought me to reflect upon my design. Initial concepts led me to research elements which represented 'Britain'

3 Lions

The Three Lions Crest became a symbol of Britain's heraldry during Richard the Lionheart's reign. The three lions became a dominant emblem which exemplified the English throne.

Barrow, M. (2014). Motto and Royal Coat of Arms. Accessed October 1206 via

St Edward's Crown

This crown is one of the oldest crown jewels, currently used for coronation purposes of English, British and commonwealth monarchs. it is an image frequently seen on badges and coats of arms.

Barrow, M. (2014). Motto and Royal Coat of Arms. Accessed October 1206 via:

St George

St Georges Cross

St George was the patron saint of England roughly the same time as the crusades, soldiers wore white tunics with a red cross. The flag became known as the St Georges Cross.

England. (2016). Englands National Symbols. Accessed October 2016 via:

Tudor Rose

Otherwise known as 'The Rose of England'. The Tudor rose represented peace following the War of the Roses. The red rose of Lancashire merges with the white rose of Yorkshire.

England. (2016). Englands National Symbols. Accessed October 2016 via:

9th November 2016

The English Oak

The English Oak

Another British emblem is that of the Royal Oak.

The English oak tree has a long association with Britain's history dating as far back as the druids. During this period, marriages were performed under the tree, and acorns carried as charms. Christmas time saw the Yule log transported indoors and decorated with holly and mistletoe.

Castelow E, (2016). The English Oak. Accessed November 16 via:

The thought of the use of dried oak leaves is a possibility within my design, if applied they could represent the element of decay (decline).

The fall & rise of the British flower industry?

Whilst Interflora assisted in safeguarding the florist trade, the 50's also saw a rise in the demand and availability of exported flowers.

The demise of the British flower industry

Knowledge brings about change, the shortfall of the British flower industry arose as a result of an upsurge in the Dutch flower market. Government intervention during the 50's procured small farms that were not flourishing, over time, these farms were sold or leased back to more successful farmers. Alongside this came subsidiaries, this steered to an increase in energy which led to the expansion of Dutch farms, producing cheaper flowers. Research and technology also became highly developed.

The 80's saw a further rise in the dutch flower market with the introduction of the 'Flying Dutchman'. UK florists jumped at the chance of cut priced imported flowers that were available on a larger scale.

And so ensued the decline of the British flower industry, local growers and wholesalers began to rapidly disappear.

The duration of the 90's saw the expansion of British supermarkets on a large scale. With this came a comprehensive range of goods.... including flowers. This was yet another element that added to the downfall of the British grower.

Holland on the other hand saw an abundance of money which led to further increases within the industry.

Richards, BJ. (2013). The fall and rise of the British flower Industry? Accessed November 2016 via:

11th November 2016

History of FloraHolland

This short video reveals the history of FloraHolland, it demonstrates the expansion of the flower industry and auction system from the beginning of the century.

Rijnsflowers B V (2016).Historyof FloraHolland. Accessed November 2016 via:

11th November 2016

The Billion Pound Flower Market

Continuing with my research led me to a recent Chanel 4 documentary 'The Billion Pound Flower Market'. This broadcast looked at the British flower industry, corroborating the article written by B J Richards.

Covent Garden

The documentary begins with Convent Garden, the largest wholesaler to the florist in the UK, it is from here 75% of florists in the south east roll up to purchase flowers every day. Looking back, fifty years ago all British flowers sold were home grown, conversely, most flowers purchased at present are 90% foreign.

Why is this so?

The Dutch have been growing flowers since the 1600's, and leaves Britain behind as regards technology. Dutch expertise deems Holland as the worlds most advanced cut flower producing nation and is the envy of the world. The reality is that a number of greenhouses used to cultivate flowers are so efficient, they manage to produce more energy than they use!

During the 'summer months' of the 50's/60's Britain's flower industry thrived. The 1947 Agricultural Act forbade foreign imports. However, as a result of Britain's decision to join the Common Market in the 70's the ban on foreign imports was abandoned, causing Britain's flower industry to crumble, allowing foreign flowers to thrive again. Hollands government provided the flower industry with lots of assistance unlike Britain who's flower industry became almost forgotten; all grants went towards agriculture/horticulture the growers had to fend for themselves

Even though the British haven't been able to compete with the Dutch as regards quantity and price, the Dutch struggle to compete with Britain's national flower .....the Rose. The reason being, Dutch roses have lost their smell! This dilemma poses as a threat, scent has become enormously important again, and as a result individuals are reverting back to the British rose.

However, the documentary reveals that Holland too have been hit by foreign imports. Over the last fifteen years three quarters of Hollands rose growers have disappeared. Hollands roses have been vamped by roses grown in Kenya and South America, seventy percent of roses bought in the UK originate from Kenya.

Could there be a shift in the market?

A new thirst for traditional British flowers has seen a number of up and coming florists, such as Jay Archer fly the flag. Jay prefers British flowers because of their flexibility, as a result of being field grown the flowers are able to maintain a weathered quirky look and feel.

Although the heart of the 100 billion pound global flower industry lies in Holland ten percent of bought flowers are from Britain. Nevertheless, in spite of harsh financial times, Britain has seen a surprise boom as a result of consumer buying habits and the supermarket! Britain's supermarkets are compelled to selling cheaper British blooms, i.e. Gladioli, Sweet William, Daffodils. This has given a boost for British flower growers. British culture deems flowers as a luxury item, unlike on the continent, here flowers are purchased every day. The supermarkets have, however, changed peoples mindsets and have retrained us to buy flowers with our weekly shop. With this has bought another dilemma, how does the florist compete with the supermarket? The British high street florist needs to rethink and offer a higher grade service with additional attractiveness within their designs.

This increase in awareness has assisted in the survival of the British grower, previously the British grower was seen as a cottage industry, nonetheless, there has been a rise of bought British blooms by fifty percent, due to the supermarket. By buying British the supermarkets cut out the middle man, the Dutch can't compete with traditional field grown flowers.

Pragmatically, Britain will never be as successful as Holland but the British Flower Industry is finally looking up! Roughly speaking, the UK flower industry has expanded by fifty percent! Prominent event designer florists such as Jay Archer, are committed to buying British, supporting the British flower industry. Jay hopes that the British flower industry will make a come back, and people will take an interest where their flowers come from. Britain's expertise in Event floristry may be a way forward. The British flower industry may be struggling but the Dutch seem to be struggling too as a result of cuts in subsidiaries. Britain's are finally recognizing the potential of British sourced flowers !

Channel 4 (2007). The Billion Pound Flower Market Accessed October 2016 via:

12th November 2016

I found this article written by Amy Gray for the NFU, very informative. It gives a very thorough account of the British cut flower industry from the demise in the 1950's to the present situation.

13th November 2016

Florist Magazine

Furthering my research I came across an article, in the florist magazine, discussing British flowers and their advocate FloraBritain.

This article yet again reiterated the advantages of British flowers...the quirky vintage feel, the ethical sustainable element the supermarkets have contributed to the support and the awareness of British flowers.

A further article tells of 'New Covent Garden' the founders of British flower week. This campaign founded in 2013, was designed to promote and support British flowers and foliage, and has gone from strength to strength.

British Flower Week (2016) Accessed via:

Initial Design Concepts

14th November 2016

Initial Design Concepts

Over the next few days l days I mused over the different British symbols that I had extended to within my research.

I sought to choose a design or an image that did not automatically spring to peoples mind, or seemed too predictable; for me that predictable image is the image of a flag. Exploring the various symbols, I determined that the red and white cross of the St Georges flag was not what I was looking for.

Further images that came to mind was that of a crown. This also seemed too apparent and did not appeal to me.

I did, however, come across the three lions symbol. The thought of exploiting this design motivated me. This symbol signified strength, a strong bold image. I contemplated further and came to the conclusion that individuals may not see the association between the design and the topic.

The English rose, also a British national symbol, steered me to look in the direction of other roses that represented British...during the course of my research I came across the Tudor Rose. The concept of a Tudor rose seemed more of an appropriate symbol, as the title of the topic referred to British flowers.

Via this process of elimination I concluded that the symbol that I would base my design on to represent 'British' would be the Tudor Rose.

15th November 2016

I devised a small questionnaire in order to collect data, of which I hope to distribute via email and social media as this seems to be a quicker and direct form of communication.




1. What are your first recollections of British grown flowers?

2. What are your views on the availability of British grown flowers?

3. Do you feel that there is a viable market for British grown flowers within the floral industry? If so why?

4. Are you yourself an advocate for the use of British flowers? if yes why do you prefer to use these?

5. Which variety of British flowers do you use most frequently within your designs? Where are these sourced from?

6. Are you aware or familiar with any institutions related to the promotion of British flowers?

• Flowers from the Farm

• The British Flower Collective

• The Real Flower Company

• British Cut Flowers

• Flora Briton

7. Do you think that there is a possibility of an upward turn of British flowers?

8. Where do you see the British flower industry in 10 years’ time?

16th November 2016

Tudor Rose

Tudor rose

At this point I chose to look further at the design structure of a Tudor rose and its history.

I adopted to sketch preliminary design concepts.

The rose seemed to me to be the obvious choice as regards the allocated plant material given the nature of my research.

At the other end of the continuum, decaying plant material seemed appropriate when representing the 'fall'.

With this in mind I envisaged a rose surrounded by decaying plant material.

Initial design concept

19th November 2016

Now that I have established the concept of the Tudor rose I toyed with the idea of sculpting a Tudor rose with the use of fresh and decaying plant material.

Tudor rose sketch

I thought of using stripped ivy vine to construct the shape of the petals as this is quite pliable.

20th November 2016

Carmen Rose

Mulling over the theme of the Tudor rose I decided to take a look at roses particularly the Carmen rose and how it is formed, (as the requirements of the module allow for a maximum 50 stem count of one flower variety, the rose seemed the obvious choice.

I found several images on Pinterest, and created a board for future reference.

I also researched the making of the Carmen rose and found an informative video on 'You Tube'.

My thoughts led me to consider the use of a Carmen rose to represent the 'Tudor rose'.

23rd November 2016

Having devised the small questionnaire, which was specified above, and having it endorsed by my tutor, I decided to distribute them to a variety of local and national florists and also supplementary members of the floristry industry including wholesalers.

Sample of emails sent

Peter H Smith Ltd.

In order to obtain more information and data I arranged to interview Nick Smith from Peter H Smith Ltd. a local wholesaler, on the 6th of December. This I feel would give me a different perspective in relation to my topic.

26th November 2016

Whilst researching the composite bouquet I came across international floral designer Lana Bates and took a look at her composite bouquets.

Lana Bates Composite Bouquet

29th November 2016

I drafted other ideas that came to my attention keeping my theme in mind. Having already established that the rose represents the rise, and decaying plant material the decline; I envisaged the rose at the top of a pinnacle of decaying plant material.

I came to the conclusion that a framework would have to be constructed in order to support the rose, and the decomposed plant material.



31st November 2016


Initial design for Tunnel

Another concept that came to mind was the image of a tunnel. I envisaged looking down through a tunnel towards the light , and at the end a suspended rose to represent the rise.


Email Coirrespondece

2nd December 2016

I have started to make a record of the people that I have distributed the questionnaire to, replies and feedback has started to slowly come through.

Email replies

5th December 2016

I prepared questions for the interview with Nick Smith tomorrow scheduled for 8 am.

6th December 2016

Interview with Nick Smith

P H Smith Ltd.

The above document is that of a voice interview recorded on the 6th December 2016 with Nick Smith, of P H Smith Ltd.

Nick reconfirmed that of a time where his first recollections of British flowers are of freesia and flowers from Lincolnshire. He note that there are still a few local growers in Lancaster and Walton le Dale. He noted that due to the competitive market a lot of growers sold the land for building. He notes that British flowers are seasonal and weather conditions can create problems, need more backing from the government. He thinks that there is a viable market but it needs more promotion and flexibility, and you need the right scenario for this. He states that he is an avid supporter of English flowers of which he has a wide variety of stock. He also reconfirms that design trends play an important role. He states that he sees a possibility of a British cut flower market. He thinks that education and promotion is a key factor in the Rise of British Blooms.

9th December 2016


Tudor Tapestry

In addition to the Tudor rose my thoughts then steered me to Tudor tapestries, I decided to investigate these further. This idea corroborated with the Tudor symbol of which was used to represent Britain.

Tapestries were used as a form of decoration and protection against the damp and cold walls of the large rooms.

Early tapestries depicted scenes of groups of people stood against backgrounds that were plain or covered in flowers or plant motifs also known as 'mille fleure' (one thousand flowers).

I found several images on Pinterest, these are just a few that I was attracted to.


The image to the far left appealed to me because of the colour combination, red and gold. These two colours combined presented a sense of opulence, and a sumptuous feel.

The flowers and writing drew me to the tapestry in the middle. the flowers characterize the thistle and the rose, a saga dating from Tudor times.

The Marriage of the Thistle and the Rose, (2016), Accessed December 2016 via:

The tapestry at the far right prompted me to think of the old Wedgewood blue and white porcelain.

The thought of replicating a tapestry excited me ... I appreciated the fact that there was a history element to this and that some tapestries told a story. The tapestry that I hope to create tells of a story also.

Victoria and Albert Museum, (London 2016) Blue and White Printed Ceramics. Accessed December 2016 via:

13th December 2016

Oak tree tapestry

Oak tree Tapestry

This is an image of an Oak tree tapestry, I found this appealing in relation to the English oak that I have discussed previously. My thoughts led me to the possibility of using dried oak leaves within my design to represent the element of decline.

16th December 2016

Ephemeral Art

Dried Plant Material

In order to represent the 'decline' in my topic I sought to use dried ...decayed plant material. I researched designs and was already aware of designers, (Andy Goldsworthy), that used plant material from their surroundings to construct their art.

Inspirational land art images found on Pinterest.

Pinterst inspirational board

For inspirational and reference purposes I accumulated, over several months, images that I felt drawn to and that correlated to my design concept.

2nd January 2017

Mixed Media

My thoughts and journey led me to rethink my design as the initial concepts didn't seem viable. The frameworks were not strong enough and were too messy which detracted away from the rose element of the design. I opted to reproduce a Tudor tapestry to represent my design.

I then proceeded to look at mixed media fiber backgrounds, like the image below.

Fiber Art

I thought of creating a mixed media background to form the basis of the tapestry. I thought of using sissel and a paper pulp.

Outdoor weaving looms


I came across the outdoor weaving loom whilst conducting my research this correlated with the idea of a tapestry being made on looms. I thought that I could make a small tapestry Tudor rose, from plant material.


Rangoli patterns using leaves and flowers

My thoughts led me back to the concept of how to represent the Tudor rose. I researched Rangoli patterns, and came across patterns made from flowers and leaves, the form was similar to that of a Tudor rose. The different texture and contrasting colours gave a visually stimulating effect.

I researched Hessian as this was plant based and could be used as a background for my tapestry.

19th February 2017

Replies to questionnaire

Questionnaire replies

I started to collect the data from the questionnaires, and recorded qualatative and quantative data.

Florismart Conversation

Interesting conversation that cropped up on the Florismart for Florist Facebook group on the subject of British flowers. Florists where inquiring about the availability of British flowers. This indicated to me that there was this newfound added interest in British flowers.

25th February 2017

Design Process

Tapestry framework

A framework was constructed from wood.

The wood was stained with a dark oak wood stain to give an aged effect.

A cardboard template was made of a the Tudor rose, and reinforced with wire to give added support.

The same technique was applied for the leaves.

These were covered in dried oak leaves I used oak leaves to keep in theme with the British symbols.

I needed a supporting framework to hold and attach my Carmen rose to. I had come across in one of the Life 3 wedding books a Carmen rose that had been constructed from roses petals that have been glued to the card. This Carmen rose represented the rise in the British flower industry.

I decided to create raised areas outlining the shape of the Tudor rose.

I thought of using tissue paper soaked in PVA glue. This didn't work out it was too heavy and fell apart.

I was initially going to use moldy hessian as a background to represent the decline of my topic. when this was applied it detracted away from the colour of the framework so I chose a sumptuous velvet material for the background this enhanced the framework. I decided not to use the inner framework as the length of material had greater effect.

I covered the circle of the Tudor rose with the moldy hessian this was a contrast to the red velvet material and represented the decline of the British cut flower industry.

Sketches of design

Initial idea of using an ornate framework came to mind ...with the material inside representing the tapestry.

I thought of creating a design on the basis of a weaving loom....threading dried plant material through. However, the image I had in my mind was that of the shape of a Tudor rose with this concept I would struggle to get this form, so I abandoned this idea.

Outer framework fig 1 was the first design concept figure 2 represents the final design concept.

Initial design idea was to create a Tudor rose with a hessian background initial ideas of creating a mossy dirty background added to the hessian to represent the decline.

Final Design Sketch

Final design

Tudor Rose

Final Design

Final sketch of Tudor rose: Dried oak leaves, dried rose petals moldy hessian used to represent the decline. Fresh plant material Carmen rose used to represent the rise of the British cut flower industry.

Allocated Area

Numbers where pulled out of a hat to determine allocated areas, mine was the gallery space shared with Sheila within Plantworld.

Sketch of Gallery area

Sketch drawn by Sheila Barr of gallery space

Liaising with Sheila shared gallery space was agreed.

Health & Safety

Constructing design appropriate clothing and gloves when using equpment, scissors, glue etc. PPE

Manual handling ensure safety when carrying framework into Plantworld

Keep all walkways, doorways free from any obstruction and plant material cleaning up any debris immediately.


Over the last 50 -30 years there has been great changes within the British floral industry this is beginning to see a change due to political and consumer awareness and trends. Now this industry is at a crossroads facing new opportunity for growth the time has never been better to take back some of the market!


The Marriage of the Thistle and the Rose, (2016), Accessed December 2016 via:

Interflora, Our Heritage, The War Years (1930's - 40's), accessed October 2016 via:

Barrow, M. (2014). Motto and Royal Coat of Arms. Accessed October 1206 via:

Barrow, M. (2014). Motto and Royal Coat of Arms. Accessed October 1206 via:

England. (2016). Englands National Symbols. Accessed October 2016 via:

Castelow E, (2016). The English Oak. Accessed November 16 via:

Rijnsflowers B V (2016).Historyof FloraHolland. Accessed November 2016 via:

England. (2016). Englands National Symbols. Accessed October 2016 via:

Richards, BJ. (2013). The fall and rise of the British flower Industry? Accessed November 2016 via:

Carmen rose (2016) Accessed November via:

British Flower week (2016) Accessed 2016 via:

Channel 4 (2007). The Billion Pound Flower Market Accessed October 2016 via:

History (2015). Red roses and white: A brief history of the Tudor rose accessed


Created with images by Boston Public Library - "Chrysanthemums" • Free Grunge Textures - - "Stylized Grunge Emblem - Royal Arms of England" • zoonabar - "Crown" • Christian Stock - "St George" • Free Grunge Textures - - "England Grunge Flag" • drumminhands - "Tudor Rose" • mvdsande - "autumn oak leaves" • jam343 - "Chrysanthemum" • Matt From London - "Covent Garden Market" • geoffjhyland - "nettles weeds sunset" • eslfuntaiwan - "quiz test exam" • drumminhands - "Tudor Rose" • Ed Bierman - "Tapestry"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.