Advertising has to tell the truth, it just doesn’t have to tell the whole truth.
In the year to 2017, the UK imported £975 million of plants and flowers into the UK ( we exported about £60+million) – which is more than the Music Industry made in the UK. It’s a massive massive trade – but is it sustainable and sensible?
You will find plants which say ‘grown from British seed’ and or ‘grown in Britain’. So we happily assume that this plant has been grown from British seed and made available to sell has never left our shores.
The largest production costs for all plant growers are labour, water and energy – so the industry sends its seeds to grow where those costs are cheaper.
This means UK/British seeds are shipped to the EU, parts of the far East and other countries like Kenya. Here they are germinated, thus taking advantage of cheaper labour, water and energy costs. The seedlings are then either flown or transported back to be grown on.
Any plant can be sold as ‘grown in the UK’ – if at some point it has ‘grown’ in the UK!
Now we think that this is a little daft. Not only are we adding air miles and transport pollution to the costs of growing plants, which is not very environmentally friendly we are spreading plant diseases. Transporting seedlings around the globe increases the risk of importing bugs and plant diseases around the globe. No bio-security protocols can be 100% effective and introducing non-native species into other countries can be truly devastating.
Goodness knows we have enough examples to learn from! Australia has suffered enormously from our ‘well-intentioned’ introduction of some animal species (cats, cane toads, mice, rabbits and camels). We have imported diseases from Asia that could decimate our native trees and accidentally imported insect species that wreak havoc worth our own indigenous animal populations.
Ask, has this plant really ‘grown in the UK’
All we are suggesting is to ask the garden centre – about the journey these plants took to appear on the shelf. How truly ‘home-grown’ are they; there is a benefit in using plants in the garden that have actually been grown here. They are properly acclimatised and used to the vagaries of the British weather, which means the plant will perform better in your garden right from the off.
Bee More Friendly Folks!