HEARTS AND FLOWERS

Organic Blooms is more than just a florist and nursery -- it's a social initiative. The South Gloucestershire, UK company is the consumer arm of Natureworks, an organization that provides therapeutic horticultural training for people with disabilities and special needs. Organic Blooms was conceived after florist Wendy Paul realized the flowers she was growing at Natureworks would be perfect for weddings and formal occasions. Not only were they beyond beautiful, but "British cut" (as opposed to imported) flowers were making a comeback, so the demand for home-grown botanicals was on the rise. So in 2006, Wendy and Organic Blooms director Jo Wright began creating floral arrangements for friends and family and word spread. Within 6 years, their farm had grown to four acres in size and they added an online business to their repertoire.

Organic Blooms are grown through sustainable gardening methods without the use of chemicals or artificial pesticides. Bouquets are hand-cut and tied and feature rustic, ethereal arranging, as if you had stumbled onto the dreamiest wildflower meadow and picked all the stems yourself. For those living near their English headquarters, workshops on everything from bouquet-making to horticultural skill-building are available. And Organic Blooms continues to work with healthcare professionals to provide an enriching educational experience for those with mental and social challenges, many of whom go on to become full-time employees.