Britains best floral gifts scent from the Scilly island of St Martin

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:03 20 February 2013

Scent from the Islands

Scent from the Islands

Tucked away in the rural tranquillity of the Scilly island of St Martin's is Churchtown Farm whose postal flower business - Scent from the Islands - recently came top of a nationwide survey to find the best, home-grown, cut flowers.


Tucked away in the rural tranquillity of the Scilly island of St Martin's is Churchtown Farm whose postal flower business - Scent from the Islands - recently came top of a nationwide survey to find the best, home-grown, cut flowers.


The business is run by two generations of the Julian family whose dedication to quality has won them the title of Britain's Farming Family of the Year for 2008.


They make full use of the warm North Atlantic Drift that creates the unique sub-tropical climate enjoyed by the Scillies, making it possible to grow scented outdoor flowers 12 months of the year - scented narcissi in the winter and spring and scented pinks in the summer. Flowers have been a mainstay of the Scillonian economy for centuries, a tradition the Julians fight hard to keep alive and growing.


"The flower industry is certainly flourishing here at Churchtown Farm and we are lucky to have discovered a niche market for such beautiful and wonderfully scented flowers," explained Ben Julian.


"Scented narcissi are unique to the islands. They are not grown elsewhere in Britain during the winter because they cannot withstand the frost. Here they are bathed in the warm Gulf Stream and we have special methods of keeping the soil warm to ensure their quality."


The Julian's success is having a knock-on effect on the Islands' economy. From humble beginnings running the business from the kitchen of the family home they now employ a full-time staff of 18 with 30 extra hired for peak times - Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Easter. They send around 80,000 boxed bouquets to addresses throughout the British Isles every year.


And as a direct result of their success the Royal Mail has had to increase its boat deliveries from three crossings a week to twice daily - with obvious benefits to the local inhabitants and economy.


The Julians are conservation conscious and use a variety of ecologically friendly farming techniques.


A computerised irrigation system is used to give the plants the precise amount of water and plant feed they need. Rainwater is harvested across the farm in butts created from huge re-cycled barrels originally used to transport Jaffa juice to the UK from Israel. And to cut down on evaporation and conserve water the pinks - a particularly 'thirsty' flower - are grown in grow-bags.


Biological pest controls are used as much as possible on the farm - parasitic wasps, for example, are specifically used to control greenfly problems.



Scent from the Islands' flowers also have a smaller carbon-footprint, saving thousands of air-miles compared to the imported flowers flown to the UK from as far afield as Colombia, Kenya and India. There is no need to grow Churchtown flowers in heated greenhouses; they blossom outside in the mild climate of the sub-tropical Scillies. And they are delivered direct to customers' doorsteps within two to three days of being picked - unlike flowers that have been sent to markets, then on to distributors and that usually need to be artificially preserved in cold stores for long periods of time.


"Living and working on the islands is hard graft, but to have made a success of our venture is wonderfully rewarding," said Ben.



Contact Information


Churchtown Farm
FREEPOST PY1798
St Martin's
ISLES OF SCILLY
TR25 0BF


Tel: 01720 422 169
Web: http://www.scillyflowers.co.uk

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