Whilst February will be spent in a red rose blur, January by sharp contrast was all about African sunshine, the squeakiest whitest sands of Zanzibar, wildlife, fabulous scenery and family love.
My primary reason for going to Tanzania was to visit my brother and his wife who are currently living near Mount Kilimanjaro, but secondly I have African blood and only so many years can pass before it beckons me home.

swalkFor anyone with a mild fascination for flowers Tanzania is paradise! Copious amounts of exotic heliconia flowers (although my brother may not have quite as many left in his garden since my visit!) heady scented frangipani, bougainvillea scrambling over every wall, not to mention the flame trees buckling under the weight of their incredible pilar box red blooms. The foot hills of Mount Meru offer the perfect growing conditions and as a result are now home to dozens of Dutch flower farms.
I visited Mount Meru Flowers who specialise in rose growing. With only two weeks until St Valentines day the farm was a hive of industry; the latest most sophisticated growing conditions producing hundreds of thousands of roses ready to be flown to the auction house in Holland.

While it is always fascinating to observe an operation of this scale, it leaves me wondering about its’ ethical status.

To give you a rough idea ..the Dutch grown roses that we stock at go.botanica, whilst more expensive, are in quality terms leagues ahead of their African counterpart. Add to this that they are cut, transported (by road) to auction, sold and gracing the stands within 24 hours rather than cut, packaged, air freighted, cold stored etc…I estimate that an African rose is going to be five days old by the time I plop it into a bucket!

Naturally all this is reflected in the price and with cheap labour (the average daily wage in Tanzania is £1.35) these roses are headed for the supermarkets.

Certain supermarkets advertise that their flowers come from fair trade farms in Africa, whereas in reality to qualify a product is only required to be 20 % fair trade which in itself is a pretty outrageous marketing ploy !

Don’t get me wrong, supermarket flowers have their place in the market but make no mistake ….it is still your local florist who has the conscience in this trade.
We build our business on repeat custom and forge personal relationships with our customers and suppliers.

So, this year when you choose where you buy your St Valentines roses from please make an educated decision.
The bouquet you buy from go botanica will be fresh, hand made and beautifully presented by a gifted florist with flower petals running through her veins!

Sincerely, nothing makes us happier than a satisfied customer.
When it comes to special occasion flowers the gulf between supermarket flowers and florist bought is still enormous and remember ….you can’t put a price on LOVE.