The floral industry has seen quite a shift of late, with many florists moving towards a greener and more sustainable way of design. As artists who work with the very best that nature has to offer, it is great to see so many starting to think about their footprint on this, our beautiful home. I am not perfect and have a very long way to go, but I hope that every little change, every small greener swap makes a difference, and that me writing this may inspire others to think about how they work and what they can do themselves.
So why is this so important and why now?
I took the decision in 2018 to stop using floral foam. I didn’t know what it was or how it was made, but I knew it made arranging flowers easy to do and gave them a water source that would last for days. I then found out that floral foam, or phenolic foam, is a form of plastic. I had always noticed the way the water turned green and full of small particles when I soaked my foam, but thought little about where it went once I let out the plug.
Many floral foams are not currently biodegradable and the impact on the environment is being investigated. There is a particular concern that the green foam breaks up into small particles which can wash into our water systems and potentially affect marine life. New products are coming on to the market, such Bio Foam and Agrowool, but I have taken the decision to find an alternative means of creating my floral designs, using mechanics which are focused on being greener and more sustainable.
For the last 2 years or more, I have been using chicken wire and moss as a base for a lot of my floral design work. The moss is all sustainably sourced and provides water for the flowers, whilst the chicken wire frame is reusable and will rust in time. This method has brought me a lot of freedom in my work and gives my arrangements a more natural feel and a free-ness, that I could never achieve in foam. I love this new way and more importantly for me, it is one step closer to being more sustainable. This lockdown period has given me unexpected time to really focus on where I would like my business to go, and how I can learn and improve, whilst still creating the most exquisite flowers. Laura at Xyris Botanicals has inspired me to make small swaps that will hopefully have a big impact. I will now use biodegradable and compostable palm trays instead of plastic, I have replaced cable ties with re-useable ones and will use paper tape instead of sellotape. Tiny steps in the right direction..
Will this affect your flowers? Their longevity? Or how beautiful the design are? Absolutely not!
I am working..
To be greener
To be more sustainable
To recycle, reuse and upcycle as much as possible.
All whist creating the most exquisitely beautiful flowers for you.
The incredible Sarah Diligent and William Mazuch have just released the most comprehensive guide to floral mechanics. A book with its heart in this very issue, with methods to create designs as sustainably as possible. Just one more example to show how the floral industry is taking this ethos by the horns and really trying to make a difference.