Is a flower always more beautiful and worth a premium price just because it is a British flower? Now that British Flowers are happily right out there, we do need to get this thinking right if the new small scale British flower industry is to progress and prosper.
It's a bit like organics (which I also completely believe in but one does have to also think about it) - is an organic carrot necessarily much better than another carrot because it's an organic carrot? Well no, not necessarily, the organic one may not be local, may have been hanging around for an age, will definitely be a premium price and so on. The same goes for flowers, it is obviously better to have flowers that are not flown in from thousands of miles away, definitely better to have flowers that have not caused ill health to pickers or the environment, absolutely stupid to buy exotics from abroad when there are equally beautiful flowers grown right here. BUT just because something is local does not necessarily mean it is automatically more beautiful than something that is not and automatically worth a premium price.
There's a bit of an alstromeria argument to be had here. There are brilliant, and I mean brilliant, English alstromeria growers who produce the best quality best coloured best forms of alstromeria. They largely sell them wholesale, and do not charge a huge amount of money for them. In fact I don't know how they charge so little and produce such amazing flowers. I used to grow a few colours in my previous gardens and it is true that they grow easily if they like where you put them but mine were never the long stemmed beauties that professional growers produce, and after a few years of growing them I realised I hardly ever used them as I had such a choice and for some reason alstros were rarely it. So perhaps this is (as so often) more about my tastes as a gardener and flower lover rather than totally about the flowers themselves.
The best English alstromerias also get sold to discerning supermarkets who still do not charge a huge amount for them. And they last and last. They are thoroughly good value appealing cut flowers.
In the winter months in particular alstros are also often a mainstay of the new wave of small scale flower providers' British bouquets. Which is absolutely fine, they are good flowers, and fantastically available all year round as an alternative to imports, and so much better to receive a bouquet of British grown flowers at any time of year - but a bouquet full of alstros should not be charged out at premium price just because it is a British bouquet should it?
We all need to get this sort of thing right. Value is as important as quality.