A little while ago I wrote a blog post for the lovely Krystal of the Eco society, sharing some of my thoughts and ideas about sustainability in the floristry industry. Take a read below.
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.
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.