Jo Thompson owner of Wye Valley Flowers is celebrating three national events this week with an unusual ‘Pay as You Go’ floral offer, designed to highlight how far a bouquet of flowers has travelled. 

The average shop bouquet has travelled over 4,000 miles. According to research by Mike Berners-Lee, in his carbon footprinting book ‘How Bad are My Bananas’ shoppers are faced with limited choices when buying flowers. Either flowers are grown outdoors in Africa, covered in pesticides and irrigated with desperately needed drinking water or they choose European flowers grown in energy intensive heated poly tunnels distributed in chilled lorries. 

However, there is a third, more sustainable choice much closer to home and Jo is hoping to highlight the benefits of supporting local, seasonal flower growers this week. Jo is a member of Flowers from the Farm, a National organisation of nearly 1000 members who are celebrating British flowers Week in conjunction with New Covent Garden, alongside the first ever National Florist Day on Saturday, the 8th June and the finale of the Big Green Week.

Jo is offering the first 20 customers to her shop in St Briavels on Saturday the 8th June between 10 and 12 pm a £20 bouquet for the bargain price of £1 per mile the customer has travelled from home. The customer will need to prove where they live, the minimum price for a bouquet is just a pound!

Jo said that this was her “fifth growing season, based on less than an acre in the beautiful village of St Briavels, supported by a wonderful team”.

With a background of 25 years teaching Sustainability Education at University, as well as running flower workshops over the last 12 years she has always been involved with flowers and growing - her grandfather was a flower farmer and did some floristry training in her early 20s. After buying land adjacent to her farmhouse before lockdown, Jo set about trying to explore how sustainably she could produce flowers, particularly working with couples keen to reduce the carbon footprint of their wedding florals.

“I grow on sustainable principles, with no pesticides or chemicals and doesn’t use floral foam or plastic wrapping and harvests all our own water.”

They even recycle the contents of the composting loos on the glampsite - which provides a wonderful Ph neutral mulch for the raised beds in the Winter! Along with habitat, bug hotels and hedgehog shelters the flower farm has become a haven for a range of pollinators and seen an increase in biodiversity over the last five years.

Jo also has a busy programme of workshops in her Flower School ethos, including the popular PYO bouquet with cream tea days, as well as delivering professional courses for growers and florists.