olympic bouquets

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In the past week I’ve wrote a couple of articles on the Victory Bouquets given to medal winners at the Olympics and how they were grown sustainably.  Today I’m going to tell you more about the lavender that featured in the bouquets.  It was supplied by Long Barn, a Hampshire based farm.

Long Barn have been growing and distilling lavender for over 12 years. As well as growing lavender they also produce a range of lavender based bath and beauty products, and original gifts for the home and garden.

Langard sourced the components for the bouquets, they contacted Long Barn and asked them to supply lavender for the Olympic Victory Bouquets.  They needed 5000 bunches of lavender each containing 60 stems, one bunch of lavender was used per bouquet.


The staff were a little concerned that the wet weather would prevent them meeting their deadline to grow the vast amount of lavender required.  They harvest their lavender by hand, using traditional sickles in the field.  Long barn said ‘it really was an Olympic challenge! However 300,000 lavender sprigs were successfully harvested and assembled to ensure the tight deadline was met.’

All the flowers for the Olympic bouquets were required to be grown chemical free, which was no problem for Long Barn as they already grow all their lavender without the use of pesticides and herbicides.  They live by a green philosophy producing their lavender naturally, their bath and beauty products are also made with entirely natural ingredients.


Lavender is particularly significant in the bouquets, as it has a historic link with London, it was grown commercially in Victorian times around the capital.  Lavender was an essential part of the ‘British scent’ the designers wanted to achieve, mint, rosemary and wheat were also used.

Long Barn also has a plant nursery and newly opened café.  You can find out more about them on their website.


Jane Packer

Long Barn

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The Olympic organisers required the Victory bouquet flowers to be grown as sustainably as possible to reduce environmental impact.  Their brief asked that the flowers and foliage used in the bouquets were all British grown, which is easier said than done.  Sadly the British cut rose industry has virtually disappeared over the years, so roses had to been specially grown for the Olympics.  The challenge was grow 20,000 best quality roses, in specific colours for a tight time scale.  As well as adhering to all the rules regarding sustainability.


The flowers had to be grown without artificial heat, pesticide and fertilizer use were kept to a bare minimum, the flowers were to be transported from growers without energy consuming chilled units and made into bouquets locally.  This is no mean feat with the haphazard British summer we’ve been having.


Paul Chessum Roses grew the roses at their high tech nursery in Chichester. The target for the bouquets was 3 days ‘from plant to athlete’. Other suppliers included Langard UK who provided mint, rosemary and roses, Shropshire Petals provided the wheat, and Longbarn grew the lavender.  The flowers were made into the bouquets by florists from Jane Packer and floristry students.


To complete the sustainability loop, the rose bushes need a home after completing their Olympic job.  If you’d like to own a piece of living sport history, the rose plants are available to buy and will be delivered from September onwards via yougarden.com.

I wrote about the bouquet design and the students who made the bouquets yesterday.

Images from top:

Jane Packer

Longbarn Growers & Distillers

Shropshire Petals

Chessum Roses

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The Olympics are in full swing now, if you’ve been watching the TV coverage you’ve probably spotted the Victory Bouquets.  They were designed by Susan Lapworth, creative director at Jane Packer.  The design reflects the vibrancy and energy of the Olympic Games.

As Roses are quintessentially British they were chosen for the main flower, all the materials used in the bouquets are British grown.  The design is split into quadrants of roses, separated by a British food ingredient. The bouquet contains Illios roses (yellow), Marie Claire roses (orange), Wimbledon roses (green) and Aqua roses (pink).  The herbs will provide a wonderful fragrance; they include rosemary, apple mint, and English lavender. British grown wheat also features in the design.


Honoured and excited students from several colleges have been helping to make the required 4,800 bouquets for medal winners.  Students from Writtle College, Bexley Adult Education and Kingston Maurward  have participated in creating the designs.

The photo above shows students working with a make-up guide to help them create the bouquets to the exact specifications.  The bouquets were made to a strict brief, they had to be 20 x 25cm, reflect the energy of London 2012, withstand temperature changes and handling by non-experts.



Top image – Jane Packer

Middle image – thisistotalessex.co.uk

Bottom image – Jane Packer

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