The sentence - “The decisions that we make every day add up” - and its consequences have been swirling like the winter weather ever since I heard it uttered by an environmentalist earlier in the year.
For me, it’s time to take to action. It’s about nudging things in a direction that may not be perfect but it is at least a start.
I have used floral foam rings in the past to make Christmas wreaths. It sounds like a confession these days but if you have been trained as a florist, it will have been impossible not to have come across it. Floral foam has been the stalwart of floral designs for decades now but of course it has not always been so.
While it was an absolute innovation in its day, in the 21st century there is more understanding about the environmental impact of floral foam. Most people when asked what floral foam is made of will have no idea it is essentially a form of plastic. In a year when single use plastic has been highlighted as the biggest contributor to the planets plastic problem, the single use of floral foam is the obvious plastic waste issue in floristry the world over.
There is always resistance to change though however obvious it seems to stop using floral foam. One unnamed famous florist told me they were a “proper” florist so could never stop using it as it was so deeply embedded in the workflow of a modern large scale floral practice and the cost of change would be untenable for customers.
I am the first to concede that new design thinking is required to achieve what you can do already with floral foam. Some current design’s would be down right impossible. Consumers have choices. Often when individuals are given the information on which to make those choices, they would rather you avoid using foam too. Generally, I would hope consumers would want to be part of the solution rather than a net contributor to the plastic problem.
The good news is that there are alternatives that are not other floral foams (much more research and development is required before these approach a sustainable option). Before the advent of floral foam, florists used containers with water and chicken wire. Moist moss gathered from certified growers is an excellent medium in which to create bases with frames of willow and other woods. Even wire frames can be recycled. It is all about how we use and then reuse the planets resources. Jute string can be used to bind these materials. All completely recyclable. And if that is all sounding a bit basic, the floral designs that can be created using these environmentally friendly materials are beautiful, original and authentic.
Before the advent of foam, florists used containers with water and chicken wire.
Quite a few Christmas wreath frames are now built from willow and wood and are beautiful and completely biodegradable. Wire frames may not degrade like their wooden counterparts but they at least they can be reused and many of my customers return them to me every year for that purpose.
Transport is another environmental issue. Many are aware of carbon emissions from vehicles and planes so it is very obvious link that if transport is involved, and the more distance that a particular foliage or flower travels, then the more carbon is being used.
This is the first year that my Christmas wreaths have been created using pine sourced locally in Cheshire. Of course it was easier to press a button on the wholesale site but I wanted to start somewhere. It takes time and energy and effort to source locally for seasonal and sustainable materials. No-one may even notice but I know there has been less impact from me using that pine than in others years when I was less aware and frankly less bothered.
Many ethical florists, myself included, are using natural materials to create Christmas wreath designs. Each Christmas wreath is a unique one off piece that is gathered from and inspired by the countryside that surrounds me. Our wreaths never cost the earth literally and many are choosing to embrace both local and seasonal ethical floristry for their Christmas decorations. What Christmas wreath will you choose this year?
The fierceblooms blog has been going for about 3 years now. In this section of my site, I write about my exploits and passion to grow British flowers in my canalside cutting garden with other articles and videos on how I use them in my floral designs. I am thrilled that the blog has reached the voting round of the 2019 UK Blog Awards in the primary category of Green and Eco.
May I please ask for a little bit of your time to vote for me. It would mean such a lot to me if you did - all you have to do is click a little heart next to my name - here is the link.
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.
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.