Scented Narcissi

All the Latest News from the Luxury Isles of Scilly Flower Company

  • Journey of a Flower

    The Journey of a Flower - Scented Narcissi, The Blue Box Flower Company


    Scented Narcissi may long have been associated with spring, but our climate in the Isles of Scilly, combined with generations of expertise and carefully selected varieties, allows our farmers to grow and supply over 15 million stems of Scented Narcissi each year between September and April. The months in between are spent carefully planning for the next season's crops. One of the main tasks undertaken is the lifting and re-planting of several tonnes of bulbs. This is to ensure the bulbs are given sufficient room to grow in the coming months, and are pest and disease-free, allowing them to produce their finest flowers.


    Growers and their team lift bulbs which have been pulled up and left to dry for a couple of days. Soon they will be ready for re-planting in a new field. Growers and their team lift bulbs which have been pulled up and left to dry for a couple of days. Soon they will be ready for re-planting in a new field.


    Planting takes place throughout the summer, and little green shoots begin to appear in fields across the islands from late August, indicating the start of the flower season is not very far away. Once the barren rows of soil have been transformed with lush green foliage, each farmer will carefully watch for the best time to begin picking the flowers. When the flowers are ready, picking teams descend on the fields, winding their way through countless rows, supplying a steady supply of these freshly plucked stems. The work can be hard as winters on the islands can be unforgiving at times, but our dedicated pickers are out whatever the weather: sun, wind, or rain.


    The same field a few months later, full of flowers and cheery faces despite the stormy weather! The same field a few months later, full of flowers and cheery faces despite the stormy weather!


    Each flower is hand-picked with precision and speed, and teams of pickers will create neat, hefty bundles of the vibrant green stems, their flowers still in bud for maximum freshness and the greatest vase life. The flowers are then packed, ready for transporting to the nearby shelter of the farm's tying shed.


    Picking teams hard at work in the fields Picking teams hard at work in the fields


    Back in the sheds, the flowers are taken from their bundles and carefully sorted by the length of their stems. Once this grading process is complete, the flowers are ready for the next part of their journey; each box is delivered to the main shed on St Mary's - Scented Narcissi HQ!


    Graded by hand: time, care and efficiency goes in to this important part of the flowers journey. Graded by hand: a great deal of care and accuracy go in to this important part of the flower's journey.


    Once brought to our main hub of operations from their respective farms, the flowers are carefully counted into bunches of ten; an expert team of around 12 people works to a tight schedule. When counted, each bunch is placed on the long conveyor of a specialist machine, which is referred to as our 'bunching line'. They are then freshly trimmed before being tied with elastic, bundled, and packed in sturdy boxes for the next stage of their journey.


    Our famous bunching line! Flowers counted and sent down the conveyor belt to be banded. Our famous bunching line! Flowers are counted and sent down the conveyor belt to be trimmed and tied.


    At this stage, only the best flowers are selected for the Blue Box range. We use the freshest of the crop, and stems of 45cm in length. Our florists then pack the flowers into their specific bouquet sizes of 50, 100, 200 or 300 stems.


    One of our florists chooses the cream of the crop. One of our florists chooses the cream of the crop.


    The stems are placed in dampened Flower Fresh pouches so that they retain their moisture for the journey ahead. Each bouquet is then wrapped in bespoke Scented Narcissi tissue paper, with each personalised gift message tied neatly around the stems before they are placed in our iconic blue boxes.


    A Standard Size Seasonal Selection Bouquet being packed A Standard Size Seasonal Selection Bouquet being packed


    For weddings and events, we can supply larger quantities than in our usual bouquets. We have boxes available of 500 or 1000 stems, and they are perfect for arranging your own centrepieces and bridal bouquets.


    Boxes of 500 and 1000 stems sit securely, ready for the journey. Boxes of 500 and 1000 stems sit securely, ready to travel to the next big event.


    Once packed in their boxes, the flowers are taken up to their last stop on the Isles of Scilly: St Mary's Airport. Once weighed, the boxes are wheeled out onto the tarmac and loaded by hand onto one of the morning's flights heading to Land's End Airport in St. Just, Cornwall - just 20 minutes away by air.


    A  twin otter plane coming in to land, ready to be loaded with its precious cargo. A twin otter plane coming in to land, ready to be loaded with its precious cargo.


    Once safely landed on the mainland, our flowers are then collected by APC Couriers whose network extends across the UK. From their local depot in Redruth, Cornwall, the flowers journey overnight to a national sorting hub, before making their way to the smaller, local depots across the country.


    An upright box is unloaded from the aeroplane at Land's End Airport An upright box is unloaded from the aeroplane at Land's End Airport


    Early the next morning, our flowers make their way into a courier's van, and away they go, finding their way to your home, ready to be unwrapped and displayed in your favourite spot.


    Seasonal Scented Narcissi make a vibrant display in your home Seasonal Scented Narcissi make a vibrant display in your home


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  • Top Tips on Caring for your Scented Narcissi

    On the Isles of Scilly, flower farming is in the blood. Passed down through generations of flower farming families, the craft of tending and growing narcissi has long been perfected. From each bulb’s humble beginnings to their vibrant, scented blooms, our Scillonian farmers know it all!

    Scented Narcissi grown outdoors on the Isles of Scilly Scented Narcissi grown outdoors on the Isles of Scilly

     

    We have collected some of our growers’ ‘top tips’ on how to care for your narcissi and get the best looking and longest lasting blooms from your flowers.

    Andrew May of Seaways Farm says: ‘Trim the stems no more than an inch when they arrive, and place them in cold water. Replace the old water with fresh water daily; they drink a lot!’

    Andrew May in his flower fields…recommends cold water for the flowers. Andrew May in his flower fields…recommends cold water for the flowers.

     

    ‘Don’t keep them in a hot living room’ says Keith Hale of Tremelethen farm. ‘The cooler you keep them the longer they will last. And if you really want them next to your fire then make sure you place them in a cold room at night’.

    If you have a hot fire or a centrally heated house we recommend moving your flowers into a porch or garage overnight. If you have a hot fire or a centrally heated house we recommend moving your flowers into a porch or garage overnight.

     

    Sarah Paulger over at Borough farm says the secret to her wonderfully healthy flowers is that she keeps the foliage up for as long as possible. She also has a tip for those of you growing narcissi in your own gardens: remove the dead heads so that the goodness goes back into the bulb; this makes the bulbs bigger. Sarah also recommends that you don’t keep them flowering for too long, especially in the first year. The same theory applies to your fresh cut narcissi: ‘By removing any flower heads which are past their best, not only will it keep your bouquet looking fresh, it will also encourage the other buds on each stem to open up.’

    Sarah Paulger excels at growing big, healthy crops of ‘Soleil d’Or’ Narcissi Sarah Paulger excels at growing big, healthy crops of ‘Soleil d’Or’ Narcissi

     

    Mike Brown of Sunnyside farm mentions an important point: ‘The narcissi grow so well on Scilly because of our naturally warm climate. We get very little frost here on the islands and the flowers don’t like the freeze’. (Think frozen cucumbers!) So if you’re thinking about planting bulbs at home, make sure to choose a warm spot in your garden, like near a wall by your house.

    Farmer Brown enjoys a Scilly sunset / A field of blooming narcissi Farmer Brown enjoys a Scilly sunset / A field of blooming narcissi

     

    Every time you order Scented Narcissi you will find our care instructions alongside your flowers inside your Blue Box:

    Narcissi Care Instructions are included with each bouquet Narcissi Care Instructions are included with each bouquet

     

    Here in the Scented Narcissi office we have also been running a few experiments on the flowers. We all know that the narcissi are good at ‘bouncing back’ but we wanted to see just how good they really are.

    We found some old, forlorn flowers that had become very soft and flimsy and otherwise would have been thrown away. We trimmed the stems, put them in water and left them over night. Here are our results:

    Before and After: What a difference a day makes! Before and After: What a difference a day makes!

     

    We also did the same to some extremely bendy ‘Erlicheer’. This variety has a tendency to have a softer stem than other narcissi, so at times can flop, but give them a drink and a chance, and look at how well they progress!

    The same flowers, just a few hours apart! The same flowers, just a day apart!

     

    We say this: If you are worried about how your narcissi look on arrival, follow our simple narcissi care tips, and pretty soon after you should have some amazing blooms and scent to enjoy for days to come.

    Spring is here: Daymark, Golden Dawn and Silver Chimes compliment your living room Spring is here: Daymark, Golden Dawn and Silver Chimes compliment your living room

     

    Now that you know the best way to care for our Scented Narcissi, take a look at our Classic Collection and order some today!

    Our prices start at £22 with Free Delivery - Start your order now

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • An Inside Look at Island Life in Scilly

    Life on the Isles of Scilly,

    St Mary's Harbour on a Sunny Day St Mary's Harbour on a Sunny Day

     

    Is not always that idyllic,

    A Blanket of Fog Over St Mary's Harbour A Blanket of Fog Over St Mary's Harbour

     

    But it is always interesting!

     
    The past week has brought days of wind, rain, cold, cloud, and fog. Every element was an impediment to the delivery of our Scented Narcissi. Day after day we have seen winds of over forty miles per hour, dark clouds, and rain. Almost every Blue Box delivery this week has been delayed, either by winds too strong for the planes to fly. Or, seas too rough for the freight boat to sail.
     
    But not just deliveries! Hot mugs of tea and coffee have been the solace for farmers who have sheltered under thick wet weather coats and trousers in order to keep picking through the cold, wet fields.
     

    Grading of the Scented Narcissi Grading the Scented Narcissi - 'Graders' carefully work their way through the freshly picked narcissi brought in from the fields. Each flower is carefully separated into varying grades based on height and quality.

     
    Workers with icy fingers flicking, twirling and tapping through bundles of stems as they grade the narcissi on height and quality. Simultaneously grateful to be undercover and protected in sheds, while also wishing they could move a little more to stay warm.
     

    A Field of Narcissi on a Sunny Day A field of Scented Narcissi on a Sunny Day

     
    But not to despair, the Isles also provide many gifts. Take this field of blooming narcissi happily growing in this island climate. Or the beautiful sunrise created by what would later become wet rain clouds. Scilly soldiers on, just as our Narcissi remind you that spring is coming, it reminds us too.
     

    A winter's sunrise over St Mary's Airport A winter's sunrise with St Mary's Airport in the distance
  • Which Is the First Scented Narcissi?

    We are not far off sending the first of our Scented Narcissi for this season, but do you know which is normally our first variety to crop?

    Varieties

  • Have You Entered Our Competition?

    Are you signed up to our newsletter? This Season we are giving you the chance to win 1 in 10 Scented Narcissi bouquets- plus every entry will receive 20 extra stems*

    (*please see website for full T&C's)

    Front of Competition Slip for Print 300dpi

     

    Click here to sign up now!

  • Scented Narcissi on the Horizon

    We've had a few sightings of Scented Narcissi shoots from our farmers over the past few weeks- not long to go until the start of our season!

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    Will you be receiving one of the first of our luxury Isles of Scilly Flowers?

  • Scented Narcissi on Radio Scilly

    We were delighted to get a mention on Radio Scilly this week who talk about our new exhibition here on St. Mary's.

    Advert for TIC

    Read the full article here 

  • Scented Narcissi is Open For Visitors!

    Panoramic JPEG

    This Summer, we have opened our shed doors to all those passing by showcasing our fabulous farmers and the work they put in to your Scented Narcissi.

    Bunching Line edt

     

    Although a working shed between November and April, we often have comments from our customers that they'd love to come and see us, so we've opened our doors, and displayed a whole host of Scented Narcissi farming facts for you to explore.

    Front of Shed edit

     

    With a fantastic archive of photos dating from the 1830's right through to present day, and lots of interesting facts about the second largest industry on the Isles of Scilly, make sure you drop in and say "hi" if you're visiting St. Mary's.

    Inside Shed Edit

     

    As well as being able to trace our history, learn more about our farmers, and see our bunching line, we have fabulous Blue Boxes of Isles of Scilly bulbs from our farmers which you can purchase, a well as some treats from  our resident artist Victoria Heaney and our farming friends at 28 Mile.

    We are right at the top of airport hill- just to the left of the airport turning, and follow our drive down until you see our shed- look out for the blue sign!

  • Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs!

    Today we went down to Tremelethen Farm to see what father and son, Rob and Keith Hale, have been up to.

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    Tremelethen Farm are currently getting their bulbs ready to send off in huge quantities across the UK. Before they can send them, they have to clean and grade the bulbs.

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    The bulbs travel up the conveyor belt where any stones and debris are removed by hand.

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    Then the bulbs move on to a new section where they are brushed to remove any dirt.

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    The bulbs are then graded and sorted as they are shaken along the next part of the machine. There are different sized holes for the bulbs to fall into.

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    Once a basket is full, it's emptied into huge bulb containers, labelled by variety, and are then moved into the ventilated greenhouses.

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    Thanks Rob for showing us around!

  • Burning Over

    The next stage for our busy farmers is "burning over" the fields. This removes any debris from the fields of last season's crop, and enables the cycle to start anew.

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    The process of burning over started after some Isles of Scilly farmers had a bonfire on one of their Scented Narcissi fields in the 1920's.  The next season, a patch of Narcissi grew earlier than all the others in the field, right where the bonfire took place. The farmers realised that burning over the crops, meant earlier flowers.

    Propane Burner

    Originally, the farmers used bracken from the coastline, and then straw to burn over, but later, the Ministry of Agriculture introduced the farmers to Propane Burners, an easier and more efficient way of achieving the same result.

    burning over 2

    Another great result of burning over, is that it leaves a black residue on the ground, which then absorbs the heat- something our Scented Narcissi thrive on!

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