Eco friendly flowers: What can I use instead of floral foam?

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How to be eco friendly might not be the first thing on your mind when you’re planning a wedding, but now’s as good a time as any to start earning those saintly heaven points we suppose.

Sustainable floristry is something we’re looking into, because for things so pretty flowers can often come with a huge environmental footprint. Before we started doing people’s weddings we had never considered that roses in January were being flown in from South America, and that more often than not flowers are sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals before being packed up in plastic and sent halfway across the world.

We’re probably getting a bit preachy sounding now, so you get the idea. Happily there are a few things you can do to make your bouquets and buttonholes eco friendly flowers. And if possible, we’d love to help.

How to be eco friendly when it comes to your wedding flowers

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First and foremost we’re trying our hardest to use as many local flowers as possible. This means getting the freshest flowers without any air miles tagged onto them, which also happily helps support other small local businesses. These eco friendly flowers, grown in Scotland, will - by default - be seasonal, and quite often are perfumed with gorgeous scents. Choosing local flowers additionally means there are always surprises, giving a lovely loose and relaxed feel to finished arrangements with plenty of movement and different textures. These flowers are grown on small areas of Scottish turf and encourage birds and bees to their beds too, which can only be a good thing. Finally, in our list of why we love local flowers, they come in reusable buckets – not a plastic wrapper in sight. Now that’s nice.

The second thing we’re attempting as we move into a new year is to minimise our use of floral foam.

We’re no expert on this subject matter, and up until recently didn’t even know there was a problem with floral foam. But now we do, so we’re trying not to use it.

If you’re unsure what floral foam even is, you might have seen it in florist shops – it’s blocks of green foam, which absorbs and holds water. Flowers are then stuck into it, where they’re held firm in whatever shape you put them into in, and are able to drink from the water captured in the foam.

All sounds fabulous, we’re sure you’ll agree. The problem, though, is that floral foam is made from a plastic product. When it breaks down it crumbles into tiny particles, that are washed into our oceans and spread over our land and we’re pretty sure our animal and fish friends don’t appreciate that. There are also those scary news stories now about us eating fish, ipso facto eating plastic and now we’re basically all part-robot. Not cute.

Eco friendly materials: What can I use instead of floral foam?

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If you’d like to avoid the use of floral foam in your wedding designs then you may need to have a think about alternative shapes. Perfect spheres of flowers, for instance, are generally the product of a foam base. We might be biased, but we genuinely think flowers created without the use of floral foam are even more beautiful. Here are a few things you can use instead of floral foam:

Moss and twine: Moss holds water really well and for flowers that only need to be displayed for a few hours it can help to keep things hydrated. You’ll want to make ‘mossages’ of this lovely stuff. Try wrapping sausages or shapes of moss in twine, wire or chicken wire to get the structure you’re after and then poke through flowers and foliage until you’re happy with the design. If this is going on a table then you’ll have to make sure you have a dish under it.

Water tubes: Water tubes are actually made from plastic so pureists probably aren’t so keen on them, but they are reusable and can help in the height of summer (you know that day in August we usually get). Softer stems of flowers will wilt if left in moss for more than a few hours, so if you water tube up the more sensitive fellas and poke them into the moss and foliage to hide your mechanics, they’ll help to keep everything fresh.  

Frogs: Floral frogs are actually a retro tool making a come back. They’re small metal plates with lots of spikes that you can submerge under water and then stick stems of flowers into. We quite like their look, but if you want to you can cover them in moss to camouflage them.

Chicken wire and water: Good old water, eh? It’s always there for you. If you’re creating urn arrangements then you can simply bundle in a scrunched up piece of chicken wire and use that as a frame work to hold your stems.

So there you have it, where possible we’ll try using those techniques ourselves this year and see how we go. If you’re interested in making sure your wedding is as eco friendly as possible then just drop us a line, and we can make some suggestions.

Rosie Conroy