Eco-Friendly Floral Design
by Kit Wertz
Top 20 Ideas for Being an Eco-Friendly Florist
Last month we honored the planet with Earth Day. We’d like to focus this month’s newsletter on eco-friendly floral design in order to keep the conversation going!
Here are some things to think about when making floral designs to help keep the planet a little greener.
1. Avoid using floral foam
The wet floral foam used in modern designs cannot be composted since it’s a petroleum-based product. There are other options to use instead of floral foam to secure stems inside a vase or container. Below are some of our top tips for underwater architecture that do not use foam.
2. Design with Chicken wire
Take a piece of chicken wire that is bigger than the container you are going to use for flowers (only works for opaque containers).
Carefully bunch up the wire so that it fits inside the container in a rough dome shape. Poke in stems in the holes of the chicken wire. As more stems are added, other stems can be held in place.
3. Design with Floral Frogs
These have been used for centuries and come in a variety of shapes and designs. Many people actually collect these and there is a book just for collectors called Flower Frogs for Collectors. These tools are often used in Ikebana designs and other more minimalist design. If you have an old toothbrush holder, you have a type of “frog.” Just clean it out and add flowers!
4. Use Curly Willow for Underwater Architecture
This is a type of “greenery” that can be bunched up into balls and added to a vase so that it creates an underwater architecture that is pretty to look at and useful to add stems of flowers. Cut curly willow can also be planted into the ground and will put out green leaves!
5. Have Fun with the Gather Drop & Fill Technique
This is a technique that we teach in our workshops and private lessons that looks simple to do, but takes practice. For more information on this technique or any described here,
contact us and we’ll show you how!
6. Add Glass Marbles to your Vase Water
Add marbles to the vase — be sure to add water first so you don’t break the glass. Re-use the marbles for your next design.
7. Use Floral Wire for Stem Support
This is a similar idea to the curly willow. You can choose to have it show or not. The eco-friendly part about using this wire is that it is aluminum, can be recycled and can be reused over and over again. See our April 2010 newsletter for more on this type of Aluminum Floral Wire.
8. Use the European Wrap Technique or Hand-Tied Bouquet Technique
This technique is also called a hand-tied bouquet, but it can be put into a vase without being tied. We teach this in our
floral design DVD that is for sale from our website. We also teach this in our workshops and private lessons and parties.
9. Design in a Vase Using Other Stems for Support
This is another timeless and classic technique that we teach in our workshops and classes. You build in the vase in such a way that the stems hold the design place.
10. Compost all Floral Cuttings and Leftover Arrangements
Just be sure not to include any floral foam in the compost.
11. Use Electronic Invoices
We send out invoices via email instead of presenting it upon delivery. Saves us the cost of ink and paper, too!
12. Avoid Using Plastic and Tissue Paper Presenting Bouquets
Use natural raffia ties to tie up stems in a pretty bow.
We don’t use cellophane or tissue paper when presenting bouquets to clients for weddings or other orders. We often deliver the designs in a glass vase of water and then re-use the vase if the client does not wish to keep it.
13. Recycle Paper and Plastic
We throw our paper, cardboard, and plastic in which our whole flowers are shipped into the recycling bin.
14. Re-use the Flower Shipping Cardboard Boxes
We recycle flower boxes. Or, we have our flowers sold to us in buckets from the wholesaler and then we return the buckets when we get our next order of flowers.
15. Cluster Deliveries to Clients
If you are a florist with a delivery service, this is essential. Especially now with high gas prices.
16. Use Plants that Can be Replanted
Pictured below are succulent Echeveria plants that are often used in modern floral designs. After the blooms fade in the design, these can be popped into a pot or the ground and will grow easily and propagate new plants.
17. Shop Locally for Flowers from Farmers’ Markets
See below article about Five Eco-Friendlier Ideas for Cut Flowers for more ideas on where to buy eco-friendly flowers and plants.
18. Shop for Flowers that are in Season in Your Growing Area
Ranunculus flowers like these are in season now in the spring and are prevalent at the mart and the farmers’ markets in Southern California. You can also grow these yourself in your own garden from a bulb!
19. Clean Vases and Buckets with Vinegar and Other Non-toxic Cleaners
from Seventh Generation .
20. Use Recycled Glass Vases or Other Old Containers
Look in your own cupboards and cabinets for a cute container like this one I found. It’s an old silver creamer container that is the perfect vessel for some Martha Washington Geraniums and Aeonium blossoms from my garden.
Five Eco-Friendlier Ideas for Cut Flowers
by Casey Schwartz
If you don’t live near a wholesale mart, and just have to have flowers consider these options:
From their site – “Organic Bouquet is committed to sending flowers that not only offer the finest, most brilliant blooms, but are affordable and eco-friendly, too.”
From their site — “These flowers may not be certified organic, but VeriFlora™ considers environmental concerns as well as community involvement, fair wages, and working conditions.”
I found flowers today at Trader Joe’s which had the Veriflora label on it. What does it mean really? From the Veriflora website it reads – “The VeriFlora Certified Sustainably Grown label is your guarantee that flowers and potted plants have been produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and with high-quality standards. — The farmers, distributors, wholesalers, and florists who grow and handle VeriFlora flowers and plants are committed to delivering only the highest quality products, produced with rigorous environmental accountability while at the same time addressing the health and well-being of workers, their families and communities.”
Farmers’ Markets usually have one or two flower vendors. These are in neighborhoods and cities all over the US. Go and have some fun, buy flowers you may not normally purchase and try them out. I bought some fresh Stock flowers once from the growers, and the flowers still had the dirt and roots on them. They lasted for two weeks. If you have questions about care and conditioning…ask. If they are the growers they will want to share as much as they can, so their flowers will last and you will come back.
Plant now for a great summer garden
Take a walk through your garden centers and buy what you like. Read the directions so you know where you need to plant what. Buy seeds and plant in containers so you can place them in ideal spots. Great cut flowers are: Snapdragons, Alstroemeria, Liatris, Statice, Delphinium, Stock, Sunflowers, Sweet peas are just a few which have grown and bloomed beautifully for hundreds of years in many parts of the world. Make your world wonderful and plant some flowers. Our parents did and look what happened to Kit and me – We are Flower Duet and we love every flower that is out there. Learn more about how to grow your own flowers organically by checking out this month’s book review on The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, Revised and Expanded by Lynn Byczynski
I know we touched on our weddings April Newsletter; however, I have this tidbit to share. For our favor to our guests, we gave them flower seeds (A rather eclectic mix). I wrote these words on the envelopes:
It’s extraordinary what happened when we threw together a colorful collection of characters into our garden.
Happy shining faces smiling up at us. Thank you for being here. (I was referring to our guests)
Throw this combination into your garden to see what colorful characters appear.(I was referring to the seeds)
I still have some packets in a very special place. I will take my advice and plants some this weekend!
May Floral Events
Is there really a Mayflower….besides the one the pilgrims sailed aboard? Yes, there is! It is also known as Trailing-Arbutus and it is the state flower of Massachusetts.
The flower clusters which are pink waxy blossoms, which appear from March to May, have a delicate fragrance.
Southern California Spring Garden Show – April 28 – May 1
South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa
Over 75 specialty garden vendors offering exotic plants, unique garden accessories, and more. Landscape gardens designed by leading landscape architects and designers. Seminars and children’s events including garden projects, crafts and exotic bird shows. springgardenshow.com
Keys Creek Lavender Farm in San Diego county — April 29th opening day.
Acres of lavender, gift shop and FREE walking tours Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in northern San Diego County. If you love lavender soap or oils, this is the place for you. The farm is San Diego’s county’s only USDA certified organic lavender farm. During the summer blooming season (May and June) the farm is open free of charge, 10–5 every Saturday and Sunday. keyscreeklavenderfarm.com
Blossomtime Festival in Michigan — May 1
The Blessing of the Blossoms starts activities off and then they have a event called Run/Walk for the Buds – how great to run with your buds and celebrate the budding blooms as well. This is their 32nd annual run. blossomtimefestival.org
Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival — April 30 — May 1
Annual festival honors the anniversary of Cupertino’s sister relationship with Toyokawa, Japan. Memorial Park, across from De Anza College, Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino. Call: (408) 940‑5287. cupertinotoyokawa.org
The 63rd Annual Albany Tulip Festival – May 7 & 8
Very Eco- Friendly as the Tulip Festival will be powered by 100% wind. albanyevents.org
Tulip Time Festival in Pella, Iowa — May 5, 6 & 7
The first festival was in 1935 to honor Pella’s Dutch Heritage, but there were no tulips! A local carpenter made 124 four-foot tulips to celebrate. Later that year, in the fall, the town planted 85,000 bulbs to ensure there were tulips for the next festival. So if you are Dutch or part Dutch or Dutch for the day, this sounds like a fun time.
The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, Revised and Expanded by Lynn Byczynski
Originally published in 1997, The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, Revised and Expanded is the revised print from 2008 by Ms. Byczynski on this very topical subject.
It is a very good guide to growing flowers organically for your home or the cut flower business at your local farmers’ market. It offers great advice on what flowers you can grow for cut floral designs and even has a chapter on flower arranging. The photos are wonderful, as is the writing. Even if you are not inclined to sell flowers at a market, this book is great for the flower hobbyist. If you want to learn more, check out her website as well: growingformarket.com.
Floral Tool — Recycled Glass Vases
Recycled Glass Vases from Pottery Barn. Photo: PotteryBarn.com
We love an inexpensive, watertight container to hold our flowers. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. A set that has caught our eyes recently are the recycled glass containers.
During our tours at the Flower Mart, we always end at a floral supplier. We have seen more and more styles of recycled glass. They have a touch of green to them, a bit like the old Coke glass, but not nearly as thick, in fact, they are rather delicate. Here are some online vendors to order recycled glass containers:
Floral Supply Syndicate