Guest post: Emma Davies, staff photographer
It was a joy to work with Emma Sousa recently as she rebranded her business to become the Urban Flower Farmer. She is a dedicated and successful florist, growing her own and sourcing locally whenever possible. This shoot took place on 15 May and used all British grown flowers and foliage.
What do you love about using British flowers?
Emma: "When I first looked into using British Flowers it was their green credentials and seasonality that attracted me - I wanted to be more eco friendly. But once I started using them it was the variety, the slight irregularity of them and of course the scent that you often get from home grown blooms, as well as their eco credentials of course."
Where do you source your British flowers?
Emma: "When I first looked into it I found it hard to find a grower near to me, being based in London. I started growing my own and now I am into my second season and I haven't looked back. I am a really small scale grower who primarily grows for my own business but occasionally I buy in from other bigger growers like Clowance, Smith & Munson and Lambs when I don't have something or I need to top up for really big events. I recently got the most amazing peony and stocks from Lambs in Lincolnshire - they beat the imported ones hands down, for size, scent and longevity."
What would you like to see change in the industry?
Emma: "I think people are becoming more aware of where their flowers come from but I think it is a very slow process and there are so many people that don't even think about flowers and their origins. It would be nice for the government to recognise flower farmers and support them more, however large or small scale - and I am a big fan of labelling where your flowers come from. If they are British grown then shout about it.
It amazes me how many people really don't realise that the flowers they are buying are shipped from all over the world from places like Kenya - people are actually quite shocked and once you sow the 'buy local' seed they would much prefer to support UK growers. We also used to have an amazing industry in the UK but unfortunately like all of the farming industries here our growers are having a really hard time and not getting paid a fair price for their product. That is where the smaller scale grower comes in for offering customers something unique."
Is there anything you'd like to add about the industry generally?
Emma: "I think that despite being a really tough industry to make a living from, the majority of florist/growers do it because they are not only exceptionally talented at what they do but because they are really passionate about making a difference, however small. The joy that flowers can make to someones life, albeit for a few days or a couple of weeks is just incredible and shouldn't be underestimated - they have the ability to uplift a person in ways you just can't imagine."
Emma offers beautiful bespoke flowers, specialising in Wedding and Event floristry. She is passionate about using seasonal flowers which is how the flower field came about and why she started to grow sustainable flowers in 2015. She is passionate about the environment and takes inspiration from the world around her.
As a child she loved to draw and paint and went on to study Printed Textiles at University. When she left she fell into a completely different career as a Fashion Buyer, fast forward to today and she has grown a successful floristry business in London and now grows flowers in urban spaces around London and Hertfordshire. In 2017 Emma re-branded and became The Urban Flower Farmer and continues to grow her floristry business travelling around the UK for wedding & events large and small.
If you are a florist who uses mostly British grown flowers and would like to be featured on The British Flowers Book blog, please apply here: British Flowers Book Shoot Application