What distinguishes eco friendly flowers for bouquets is that that are grown not just for their beautiful blooms, but with a thought towards the environment. From edibles to scent, not to mention their key ecological support for our much loved bees, eco friendly flowers play a role very much beyond their beauty.
The choices that you make every day add up.
Recently though, I listened to an environmentalist discuss the loss of wildlife species on the planet. I have still his final sentence ringing in my ears. It was this - the choices that we make every day add up. I have been thinking about those words and my choices for my eco friendly flowers for bouquets ever since.
Of course, there are areas of my canalside cutting garden that are pretty unkempt. I could say that leaving them like that was deliberate, but the truth is I will never be able to cultivate everywhere. The happy consequence though is by leaving nature to her own devices, with a few helpful nudges the wild flowers are starting to flourish there again. Clouds of butterflies dancing over the garden is enough to convince me to keep going with this strategy.Everything comes and goes and so it appears now is time for a revival of all things dried. I for one love this trend and of course it fits really well with eco friendly flowers for bouquets. Some associate dried flowers with Laura Ashley and 1980s kitsch. Some have a decided aversion to what I affectionately call “dead stuff”. I, on the other hand, have always really loved the shape and texture they add to any and all floral designs. I think it's a very eco chic look for your wildflower wedding or event. My take on environmentally friendly flower growing is not only to grow British flowers for my rustic, wild weddings and encourage local sales to avoid adding to the carbon foot print, but it is also to grow flowers that can be used fresh as well as dried. These multi use flowers as I am calling them are things we are all already familar with but what we need to do is realise that to release their potential in starting to use them in a different way.
It was after visiting Cotehele a couple of years back that I decided I would grow some of the ingredients of this inspiring dried floral garland that has been decorating the hall there for hundreds of years. I adore tradition. No nod to fashion trends there then I thought, just heritage and continuity that in my view if we take insufficient care over, we are in danger of losing.
Pittosporum foliage is used as the base of this breathtakingly beautiful garland. I’ll need to wait a few years until my wee shrubs bear fruit. In the meantime I have started by growing 2 of my favourite ingredients from the Cotehele garland - limonium suworowii and helichrysum. Both have grown well in my cutting garden.
Truth be told, an issue is going to be finding places to dry my flowers and seed heads as already I can see it is going to be as my other half so eloquently puts it, “space occupying”. That said, it will be no time at all before I’ll start to use it to create my own smaller wreath versions of the Cotehele garland. Beware of cutting your helichrysum when the flowers are open. Cut them when they have reached a good size but are still closed. Believe you me, they will open out more than you can imagine when you hang them up for drying and if they are too open they will just open too much.
There is growing trend among the most eco conscious floral designers to use dried plant materials in their designs including their bouquets. Such eco friendly florists use elements that have been dried alongside the living fresh florals and tap into their emotions and the surrounding enviroment to inspire thier work.I love looking out of the window at our canalside cutting garden, walking along our canal tow path, planting in the earth and really looking at what surrounds me. The sight, the scent, the feel of everything. It's why I end up using dried plant material as well as fresh in my bouquets as it provides such an ethereal quality to floral design. It brings that elusive “something” to an arrangement and I rarely create my designs without it. I think that using dried material and flowers in a multi use way is a helpful device for this aspiring eco florist . I now more than ever seek to use as many of the the stems I grow as possible. If my nigella flowers don’t end up in an arrangement, then their seeds heads inevitably will. Honesty is another favourite with both beautiful flowers and stunning seed heads. I can never grow enough of them and will double my beds of both next year. There are many many more brilliant varieties that double up as both cutting flowers and for drying including achillea, larkspur, ecinops.
I know I am not alone in my attempt to recycle as much as possible from my cutting garden. If it's not used for floristry, it goes back into our huge and growing compost heaps. Truth be told I don't always get it right all the time by any means but I think you have to start somewhere. As the buddist tradition says it's the journey not the destination.
Using dried material and flowers in a multi use way is a helpful device for this aspiring eco florist .
The hedgerows are full of wonderful things to dry at this time of year. Bracken is brilliant with its brown fern like fronds. And I confess I have the odd prickly teasel cut too with its beautiful sculptural heads. The key to success is to dry them properly - ideally somewhere cool and dark.
Wild garden style floral design is all about combing the artistry of design with the inspiration that comes from nature. Always in life there is death and so it is with wild garden style florals. I have started to use dried snowberry branches from my hedge in many of my pieces as they have a wonderful curved flow to their twigs that are both beautiful and practical. In a strange way that I am unable to articulate, they seem to bring life to the fresh florals in a way that foliage alone is unable to do.
There is another reason to grow flowers that can be used fresh and dried for cutting. When all is grey and cold and dull, when there is precious little else in the sleeping winter garden and hedgerows, their colour lifts the spirit. For this reason alone, I will be growing them again.
If you are interested, you can review some of my wild garden style wedding flowers ideas.
I hope my wild garden style floristry ethos resonates with you. If you want to embrace your wild romantic side and would like to discuss your forthcoming wedding or event then I'd be delighted to hear from you.
More of my flower arranging work can also be viewed on my floral design portfolio. If you fancy getting creative then why not book to attend one of my fierce flower classes in our local village hall featured below.
Sustainable Everlasting Autumn Wreath Class
Sustainable Everlasting Christmas Wreath Class
Sustainable Seasonal Christmas Wreath Class
A 19th century historic wharf and Cheshire canalside cutting garden is the inspiration for our wild garden style ethos. I root my floral design in every precious fleeting seasonal moment, growing and creating only ever with local seasonal scented British flowers.
If sustainability matters to you, if you care that floral creations are as kind to the environment as they are beautiful, then I am a kindred spirit.
We share our artisan florals in our live online virtual flower classes, and with our flowers, create bouquets and undertake a few intimate Cheshire weddings a year.