This week, 15 - 21 June is British Flowers Week. Founded by New Covent Garden Market in 2013, British Flowers Week is an annual, national celebration of the wealth and variety of British cut flowers, plants and foliage. By shining the spotlight on British flowers, working with independent florists and the wider flower industry to show what they're made of the aim is to:
- Showcase great British flowers, plants and foliage through great British floristry
- Raise awareness of which British flowers are in season when
- Encourage the public to buy more British flowers
I have some beautiful locally grown flowers in the studio this week to be included in all bouquets. They're grown by Cathy at The Midnight Garden Flower Farm in Stapleford. I've also got some other gorgeous flowers such as sweet peas, stocks, callas and eremurus from larger scale growers but all still in the East of England.
This week also marks the fifth anniversary of my flower business so I've been doing a few things to celebrate. Including making a floral foam free installation outside my front door as part of the British Flowers Week Window concept. With most weddings postponed from 2020 to 2021, it was a good opportunity for me to keep my installation skills fresh and it was fun to work on something big for a change. It's now raining so I'm not sure how long it will last!
My local council does not offer a 'green waste' collection for commercial businesses. And as a business, I'm not allowed to take my green waste to our local recycling point nor am I supposed to put it in my own green bin. After a little digging, I've discovered that my green waste plays a vital role in reducing the amount of waste the county sends to landfill. There's a process called Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) which is applied to our general waste. First the recyclable materials are extracted and then the remaining waste is, in effect, composted to reduce the volume of the waste by up to 50%. Organic matter (my green waste) ensures the process works efficiently. If there's not enough green waste in the mix, the composting process doesn't work. By putting my green waste in the general waste, albeit in a compostable liner, I'm helping reduce landfill. And because it's been composted down first, there's no methane being released from the landfill.
I avoid using florists' floral foam wherever possible. It's nasty stuff to make and use and generates micro plastic as soon as you look at it. If I do have to use it - because the type of design the customer wants isn't feasible without it - I use a brand that at least claims to be 100% biodegradable when shredded. However, many designs just need a bit of alternative thinking to devise a way to get the look the customer wants without using foam. With a few exceptions, my funeral work is entirely foam free.
All weddings booked in 2020 will be 100% foam free.
I use as little single use plastic in my designs as possible. My packaging of bouquets for delivery is all recyclable. I use cardboard boxes, tissue paper, recyclable cellophane bags and specially designed absorbent wraps to keep your flowers in tip top condition until you can get them into water. These Eco-Wraps are 100% plant composition, compostable, biodegradable, reusable and recyclable. The ribbon will always be fabric or raffia - so use it again when wrapping something up yourself.
Flower food & vase life
The actual sachets of flower food I use are compostable so can go in your green bin. The food helps neutralise the ph of the water, provides nutrients for the blooms to help them open and keeps the bacteria at bay. To keep your flowers for as long as possible keep them cool, out of direct heat and draughts and change the water every few days - especially if it's going sludgy. If you haven't got any flower food as you've changed the water, a tiny drop of household bleach in the water will keep the water clear.