Eco Floristry

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.

photography: Moonflowerphoto co

photography: Moonflowerphoto co

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.

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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.

Anna @whererosemarygrows

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Winter in Auckland

Winter is here and according to predictions it is going to be a cold one. I've spent in total almost a decade of my life living in England so the cold is relative for me in subtropical Auckland. For farmer florists it is meant to be our down time but the downside or upside depending on how you look at it is the ability to stretch the season in Auckland beyond colder climates. Bulbs go in later when the ground has cooled. Seedlings can be started thoughout the winter months. Things are left longer than they should or in some cases stared earlier than they should be.

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I am enjoying this time, making plans and meeting lovely brides and excitedly planning their most magical days with them.

I have big plans for next season, I am transitioning from gardener to farmer, with a field to cultivate and basically turn from a muddy (read swampy) paddock to a blossoming flower field. I will have 200 roses in a various array of colours, as well as a selection of various annuals and perennials that catch my eye.

 

It is certainly not an easy task but the end result is what keeps me motivated. People ask me whether I prefer growing or floristry but I can't choose between the two, in my mind they go hand in hand and one can't exist without the other.

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I feel I should explain my motivation for growing my own flowers, from a purely aesthetic point of view these flowers are not what you buy in your average florist shop, they are delicate, dainty, unusual, they can be fleeting, and they add a sense of lightness, air and delicacy to an arrangement that simply would not be available with mass produced flowers.

Just like the movement towards naturally grown vegetables and fruit, there is a movement towards naturally grown flowers. Most flowers that you see available for sale have been grown in vast greenhouses, sprayed with chemicals or worse they have been imported from vast corners of the globe to sell in an opposing season. The flowers that myself and other flowers grow are different, they are grown mostly without these harsh chemicals and sprays they are natural, full of life and scent.

I hope if you've read this far you care as much as I do about all of these things.

 

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