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  • Writer's pictureClare Gray

Eco Weddings

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

In a survey conducted by The Sustainable Wedding Alliance a massive 98% of couples said that sustainability was a factor when planning their wedding. We are all becoming more climate conscious and with the average carbon footprint of a UK wedding being more than the average annual household footprint, it's no wonder that couples are making more considered choices. We're also very aware that there is a lot of 'Green Washing' that goes on in the wedding industry, so we want to share with you the ways in which we provide sustainable flowers and areas we've identified for improvement.



Hitched.co.uk have a number of great tips for planning an Eco Wedding with 'seasonal and local' being one of the best ways to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding. We all know that seasonal, locally grown food has a significantly lower carbon footprint than imported. It's also widely accepted to be better quality as it's generally been lovingly reared with care and is often an artisan product. The same principles are equally as applicable to flowers.


Imported flowers have a huge carbon footprint, as detailed by Rebecca Swinn in her article for Flowers from the Farm (Of which we are members), they are generally grown in bulk with poker straight stems in order for them to be packed efficiently and therefore lack character. The choice is fairly limited compared to British grown blooms as they have to travel, sometimes as far as Latin America, which means they are covered in chemicals to keep them dormant and then they have to be forced awake ready for use.

We'd much rather create floral designs with our quirky, irregular stems, they're so full of character, making them not just beautiful, but memorable and unique. So how do we grow them to ensure the very highest standards of sustainability?


Water


Our farm is on the side of a hill in the Preseli's and is completely off grid, which makes water a precious commodity. Rainwater harvesting and attenuation are important pillars in the climate change agenda. We harvest rainwater off every surface possible and store it in 1000 litre tanks. We try and retain as much water on the land as possible by the addition of swales and terraced beds, minimising the amount of watering we need to do during dry spells. We plant trees and plants that love water in the wet areas of the land and drought tolerant species elsewhere ensuring maximum water efficiency.


Compost and Feeds


We have 3 compost areas to process all our floral waste and turn it back into nutritious matter that tops up the soil in our growing beds. We happily take any leftover wedding flowers and compost them, allowing them to return to the earth. We add woodchip, that we produce on site from our Willow Coppice and woodland for the perfect mix of green and brown. We currently buy in a few bags of locally made peat free seed compost, but this year we will be creating our own wormery, so that we can make our own seed compost from the worm castings!


This Image is one of our compost bays, the roof is harvesting rainwater into the containers on the left.


Flowers are very hungry and need feeding to keep them happy, we grow Comfrey for this, the leaves are soaked in water to make 'Comfrey Tea'. This gets added to the flower beds once a fortnight during the growing season. Our future plan is to start experimenting with 'green manures' and Biochar over the next few years which will add and retain more nutrition in the soil.


Wildlife Enhancement and Pest Management


We believe in working in harmony with nature, as such we never use chemicals or pesticides instead we have created habitats for beneficial wildlife and companion plant for natural pest control. Blue tits and ladybirds are brilliant aphid munchers and planting Alliums alongside Ranunculus or Clary Sage near Roses helps to deter pests. Sometimes we struggle with carrot root fly and thrips, for this we buy in 'biological controls' these are essentially insects that act as natural predators. We make sure there are plenty of flowers left for pollinators to enjoy and have created a forest garden near the growing beds just for pollinators and other wildlife.


This beautiful Comfrey plant does not just create a fantastic feed for plants but is also loved by pollinators.


Energy


Being off grid we don't use any electricity on the farm for growing plants, but we do use a lawnmower, woodchipper and strimmer that require petrol. Grass around the growing beds needs to be kept short to prevent slugs and the grass clippings are required for mulching shrubs and composting. Wherever possible we use a manual scythe for mowing the grass in order to conserve fuel. Chipping our own wood on site means we don't need to buy any in, which would require fuel to transport it anyway. We choose good quality equipment for maximum fuel efficiency and keep it well maintained to prolong it's life.


We provide wedding flowers within a 30 mile radius of Llangolman, Pembrokeshire to ensure our flowers can be truly considered local and keep fuel use to a minimum. The Welsh Government have standards for which you can claim to be 'local produce' and for rural areas (Which we are) 50 miles is considered 'local' however we'd rather stay nearer to home! It means we cover all of the wedding venues in Pembrokeshire as well as much of Carmerthenshire and Ceredigion too.


Floristry


Training at The School of Sustainable Floristry in Bedfordshire we ensure all our floral designs meet the highest environmental standards. We never use floral foam or single use plastics, preferring reusable chicken wire and moss, natural hand-dyed ribbons, twine and raffia to craft the vision of your perfect day! Creating season led floral design, means we don't use any imported blooms, instead we create bespoke memorable arrangements with flowers grown in harmony with nature. It means that any time you happen upon the flowers that feature in your special day, growing in a hedgerow or field somewhere maybe, it will bring all those lovely memories flooding back.


Photo credit Andrea Gilpin Photography above and below.

We're always looking at ways we can improve our environmental credentials to ensure our flowers and floristry have the lowest carbon footprint possible and help provide a cleaner, greener planet for future generations.


If your looking for locally grown flowers for you wedding then please get in touch via Facebook, Instagram or email preseliblossoms@gmail.com for a range of bespoke packages and DIY options.






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