I love flowers, they are beautiful, smell amazing and always bring a sense of joy. This week we have a special guest post by Anna who owns Where Rosemary Grows florist. A few months ago, I helped Anna on a styled wedding shoot, where I learned about her trips and tricks to be more sustainable in the florist industry.
Late last year a group of friends and I did a wreath making workshop with Anna, using flowers and greenery from her garden. Anna also had hand dyed silk ribbon, which she made by using flower petals from her garden. I really enjoyed making the wreath and loved how it turned out. It dried nicely over the Christmas period, so I decided to keep it hanging on my wall, where it still lives.
My wreath from Where Rosemary Grows workshop | November 2017
Secretly, I think I have always wanted to be a florist, so when the opportunity to work with Anna came about I was all too eager to lend a helping hand. Here is Annas story about how we can do our bit to can enjoy the beauty of flowers more sustainably.
I had the pleasure of collaborating with Krystal on a recent styled shoot with a bunch of amazing wedding vendors (listed below).
I've been following along Krystal's inspirational story here and I wanted to share with you some ideas on how you can make the flowers that you buy, whether they are for your wedding, an event or just a weekly bunch of flowers, seasonal, local and plastic free.
Photography - Moonflowerphotoco
When you think about why you love flowers, is it because they remind you of a certain time in your life, a smell evokes a memory or maybe because they take you back to a childhood spent exploring your Nana's garden, dreaming, picking and smelling the lovely scents as it does for me?
Then think about a greenhouse filled with flowers all the same colour, taking up vast amounts of land and using vast amounts of water, flowers that are sprayed with chemical pesticides and shipped off to all corners of the world, the two visions couldn't be further from each other.
We are lucky enough in New Zealand to be able to buy New Zealand grown flowers year-round, however for some Colombian roses or Dutch peonies in June are the 'premium', but in these instances, where others see beauty I see air miles, chemical residue and environmental cost.
Model - Isabelle from Red Eleven
Spurred on by the UK and US (where imported flowers sit at a much higher rate than here in New Zealand) there is a new movement of growers and farmers, keen to share the beauty of real flowers, flowers that have been grown in fields and gardens, flowers that have been pollinated by bees and butterflies, flowers that smell and look real and really remind you of your Nana's garden.
We are governed and restricted by the season, however that makes our flowers natural, seasonal, abundant. We really care about all these things. This is not the easy or more cost effective route. It just feels like the right one.
When talking about plastics in the floral industry we have to talk about the use of floral foam. Floral foam is a green spongy plastic that is used by florists to give flowers a water source for a wedding or event. Those pintrest worthy installations or beautiful archways that you see when researching your wedding may have a dirty secret, which is a single use plastic that when improperly disposed of can mean tiny particles of plastic entering our waterways. There is, however, a movement away from this in the floral world, and there are many alternatives that can give the same end effect.
Florals and styling - Where Rosemary Grows
So, I guess the question is what can you do to make sure that what you are buying, whatever the occasion, is plastic free and at the least cost to the environment?
Ask your florist what is in season, they will be able to tell you what is available and abundant. If you are getting married and you love a certain flower, then pick a date when it will be in season. Insist on only New Zealand grown flowers, even better if your florist likes to use flower farmers where they can.
Check that your florist can work without floral foam – you can find ones that can by using the hashtag #nofloralfoam. If you love to have weekly flowers in your home then, why not sign up to a subscription with a local grower, many of them offer a flower subscription service. And where you can, try to avoid plastics and chemicals when buying flowers.
Working with Anna was a great experience and I learnt a lot about how to be more sustainable in the floral industry. On the shoot, I saw the innovative ways she works without floral foam by reusing old plastic containers or ceramic bowls with chicken wire. Floral foam is a thermoset plastic containing toxins and is not biodegradable. As it can easily crumble, I can see how it can easily enter our waterways, adding to microplastic pollution.
Collection of tools & accessories used for the photo shoot
There were other little things like using floral wire on wooden pegs, old jars and reusable plastic viles rather than disposable items. Anna even brought items from her home to style the shoot, rather than buying new products for a one off shoot. And of course, any organic material is home composted.
Special thanks to the wonderful wedding vendors: