Our March Meeting

Thirty-six member and eight guests attended our March meeting.

A pot of lovely bulbs  were presented to our Birthday girls.

A car load of donations were collected for the Ukraine in addition to £235 for the Disasters Emergency Committee (which the Government will match).

Evelyn told us about the categories for the New Forest Show (more to follow about this).

Meral told us about the Brockenhurst Church Easter egg competition and how the craft group are going to be working in this at the craft group meeting on Friday 25th March.

One speaker this month was Ben Cross from Crossland’s Flower Nursery in Walberton, West Sussex.

Ben told us about how his family originally started out under the Land Settlement Association on 1926 and moved to their current Nursery Walberton in 1957. After trying different crops, they eventually started growing Alstroemeria. 

The family now grow 70 varieties of Alstroemeria.

The family work hard to be sustainable and keep their carbon footprint low. Alstroemeria beds can last between 2—30 years and are grown in peat-free bed. Biological pest control not chemicals are used and companion planting is also used too.

We learnt that they Alstroemeria are a cold crop, so they don’t require lots of heat (and the pollution that this entails). When heat is needed, the Nursery has a Biomass Heating system.

We learnt that even in peak summer, Alstroemeria only need watering for about 20 minutes every 10 days!

We learnt that their Alstroemeria are sold in a recyclable sleeve with not additional plant food in a plastic that causes plastic pollution (Alstroemeria don’t need flower food).

Ben gave us ‘food for thought’ about the importance of buying locally grown British flowers.

He told us how the supermarkets are sourcing more and more flowers from abroad (and don’t even state on the label where they come from!)

He told us how these days, the majority of flowers from abroad are grown using cheap labour, using chemicals, are sold in plastic wrappers, and then flown many miles. These facts helped us to realise how unsustainable this is.

Ben was a great speaker and kept everyone’s attention! 

As an added bonus, Ben brought along Alstroemeria for us to buy and we were pleased  to be able to buy genuine fresh flowers from the UK.

It was a very interesting and informative talk with much ‘food for thought’ about how we can all support the British flower industry and at the same time be more environmentally and sustainably aware.

If you missed the meeting, you can listen to a Podcast that Ben features in from this link.

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