A new kind of flower power at Booths store

Sustainable floristry is the way ahead according to local flower growers and florists Petal & Twig. Co-proprietor Angela Coulson tells Fiona Finch why they're delighted to have become in store florists at the Booths store in Longton, selling mainly British grown blooms.
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It's a first for the family owned north west supermarket chain Booths and it's a first for Lancashire florists and flower growers Petal & Twig.

Petal & Twig are now running Booths' first local flower concession at the Booths store in Longton.

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The aim is to benefit both their businesses and the environment and delight customers with distinctive bouquets of blooms which previously were not offered in florists.

Elizabeth and Angela from Petal & Twig  Photo: Kelvin StuttardElizabeth and Angela from Petal & Twig  Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Elizabeth and Angela from Petal & Twig Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Angela Coulton, co-owner of Petal & Twig with Elizabeth Green, said: "From April to October, we grow a range of "cottage garden” flowers at our farm in Tarleton, the kind that have disappeared from florists’ shops. Our bouquets change weekly and will feature scented narcissi and tulips in early spring, to scented stocks and peonies in May, sunflowers, zinnias and dahlias through the summer months, right through to chrysanthemums in the autumn.”

Angela is a second-generation florist who returned to her family business in 2011 after a career developing sustainability policy for Defra (the Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). She had researched the high carbon footprint and other impacts of the cut flower industry and was determined to source locally grown flowers for her business.

When she discovered they had almost disappeared from the marketplace she began growing them herself, and joined with other florist-growers in the Flowers from the Farm network which has done much to rekindle interest in British grown flowers.

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Angela's mother had her own floristry shop in Longton for 25 years. Angela said: " When I came into the business she was approaching retirement. I decided having a retail shop and trying to grow flowers wouldn't work with small children...We decided to start growing flowers 10 years ago. "

Local blooms being selected by Elizabeth Photo: Kelvin StuttardLocal blooms being selected by Elizabeth Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Local blooms being selected by Elizabeth Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

In turn, when the invitation from Booths came to start a concession in the Longton store Angela felt it was the right time to step back into retail floristry selling from a store.

Angela said: "85% of cut flowers sold in the UK are imported and largely out of season and I want to reintroduce shopper to the delights of seasonally grown British flowers. Seasonal, locally outdoor grown flowers have around 90% lower carbon footprint than imported out of season flowers flown in from equatorial countries or grown in fossil fuel heated glasshouses.”

On the Petal & Twig it is notef: "This is a different kind of flower business, one that treads more lightly on the earth, has a lower carbon footprint and which benefits the local environment by choosing plants which support bees and other pollinators."

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The flower stand at the Longton store will be restocked daily with bunches of flowers and foliage to arrange at home and a selection of “pick up” posies and bouquets. From Thursday to Saturday there will be a Petal & Twig florist in store to make up bouquets ordered by customers. The bouquet will be ready for collection as they complete their shopping and home deliveries can also be arranged.

Angela prepares a bouquet  photo: Kelvin StuttardAngela prepares a bouquet  photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Angela prepares a bouquet photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Petal & Twig source from other British growers from Lancashire, Cheshire, Cornwall and Lincolnshire and choose the best seasonal blooms from wholesale markets to supplement their own grown flowers.

When sufficient British flowers are not available, their policy is to purchase high quality certified imported flowers. These will have been grown under good environmental and social conditions, following sustainability principles guidance produced for florists which Angela helped to develop with Coventry University.

It is six years since Angela approached Booths suggesting their shops sell more sustainable, locally grown flowers. The relationship has blossomed, and now selected Booths stores from Penrith to Knutsford sell locally grown bouquets.

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Booths Buyer Tom Hargreaves said, “Booths are renowned for local souring in food, and that ethos can and should extend to horticulture and floristry. By working with smaller growers local to our stores, we can offer something wholly unique to our market. Sharing the pleasure of giving or receiving locally grown, sustainably sourced, seasonal flowers is an extension of the Booths ethos.”

Rebecca Mallett, Angela Coulton and Elizabeth Green from Petal & TwigRebecca Mallett, Angela Coulton and Elizabeth Green from Petal & Twig
Rebecca Mallett, Angela Coulton and Elizabeth Green from Petal & Twig

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