Residents and visitors to the Scottish capital could be lucky enough to go home with a free bunch of fresh flowers created by some of the country’s leading artisan florists this weekend.
Each creation will be unique and feature blossoms not usually seen in most high-street arrangements.
As many as 20 posies will be up for grabs on Saturday as part of Lonely Bouquet, a day-long event celebrating the beauty of home-grown blooms and showcasing Scottish floristry talent.
The unique creations will be left in public places around Edinburgh for people to find and keep, with details of where they came from and the florists who made them.
And anyone who doesn’t manage to snap up one of the bouquets can still enjoy the sight and smell of seasonal flowers at a special floral art installation in the city’s Grassmarket.
Members of the public will be encouraged to pose in front of the living sculpture, using it as a “selfie wall”, and share their pictures on social media.
The move is part of a drive to promote British Flower Week, which begins on Monday, and highlight the environmental and social benefits of choosing plants that are in season and grown locally.
The floral selfie wall artwork is the brainchild of Fiona Inglis and Natalya Ayers, of Scottish botanical design studio Pyrus.
The designers, who grow their own plants in a Victorian walled garden in East Lothian, have worked on high-profile projects with the likes of the National Galleries of Scotland.
They are also coordinating the Lonely Bouquet event.
“We want to raise awareness of British flowers and Scottish growers,” said Ms Ayers.
“People in and around Edinburgh city centre will be able to come and take their picture in front of the flower wall.
“There will be hashtags, so people can share their photos, and some of the contributors will be around to talk to people about locally grown flowers.
“Imported flowers are travelling a long way. Flowers bought on the high street have often come through Holland but may be grown in South America or Africa.
“We are looking to reduce flower miles. We’re looking at environmental impacts, seasonality.
“We personally believe that seasonal flowers have so much more character than mass-produced specimens.
“When you’re growing flowers for yourself you grow them for scent, look and feel, rather than the uniform straight-stemmed stock. I think they’re far superior to imported blooms.”
The UK’s cut flower industry is worth £2.2 billion a year but is currently dominated by international suppliers.
Supermarkets, florists and wholesalers sell mostly imported flowers, with British growers having less than a 15 per cent share of the market.
But things are beginning to change, and there has been a recent surge in the number of Scottish and UK providers.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth in the Scottish flower industry in the last five to seven years, going from a handful of growers to almost 70 nowadays. It’s fantastic to see,” said Ms Inglis.
“Since the 1970s over 90 per cent of the flowers we see in our flower shops have been imported from all over the world.
“They’re often grown in unfavourable environmental conditions and often in countries where it’s not an ethical industry.
“As people become more aware of where their products come from they are looking for something that is more local and has a hand-crafted feel to it.
“I think aesthetically people’s tastes have also changed over the past decade or so.
“We’ve moved from a style that was quite rigid and symmetrical to something softer, looser, more naturalistic, organic, and local flowers really lend themselves to that sort of look because we celebrate the imperfections as opposed to trying to produce long, straight, perfect, regimented stems. This isn’t what’s attractive to us.”
Florists from Fife, West Lothian, the Borders, Edinburgh and East Lothian are involved in this weekend’s event.
All are members of the UK-wide Flowers From the Farm network, which promotes locally grown plants.
Bouquets are being provided by: Keeping the Plot; Millpond Flower Farm; The Country Garden Company; Ode to Flora; Letham Plants; Stemginger Flowers; Cherrytrees; Fleurs Promte; and Pryus.
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