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How I Made a Non Foam Flower Spray

Since making the decision to go ‘no foam’ I will let you in to a secret, I’ve been slightly worried about the day when I would be asked to create a casket spray …

Well, that day came not so long ago and being the stubborn sort of person I am and given my sustainability beliefs in my personal Vegan lifestyle and with my work, I knew I couldn’t take the easy option and order a foam based product. It was time to get creative and think of a way of achieving this myself, after all - what did florists do before the days of foam?

A bit of research and doodlings, here is my step by step process.

  1. Plan

    How long does it need to be, how are you going to keep the flowers hydrated, which materials are going to compost?

  2. Shop - I decided to check out a hardware store and bought a plank of FSC wood 80cm long and some screws. I also bought some chair leg stoppers to put underneath to help the wood not slide around.

  3. Construct - I needed to trim the corners from the plank of wood (as you might do with foam anyway)

    I knew chicken wire and moss were probably the way to go to construct the height i needed. I had sought the advise of @nofloralfoam who sent me images of empty ice cream containers with wetted newspaper in being used to keep stems in place - however when I ordered the moss from my wholesaler - there was an option to purchase them in wooden boxes which i thought might work as well and i thought it would be good to reuse a material that would rot.

    I then took out the moss from the boxes and screwed them onto the base, i refilled them with moss making sure it was nice and wet.

    Even with the moss I decided that extra stability for the stems might be needed, so I used halves of the FloraGuppy’s to create a longer raised area. I used strong wire to create hooks to fasten them into the moss. (The FloraGuppy is resuable and recyclable).

    I then drilled holes into the boxes to provide areas where i could insert the stems - this took the longest time and i definitely had achy arms afterwards!

  4. Fix moss to the ends and wire on to board until it’s nice and firm. I think here is where you do need a good 10/20cm length wise to build the moss up to the top of the wooden boxes, plus the more wet moss there is, the longer the stems will last.

  5. Start your flower arranging. I must admit, there was a bit more jiggery pokery getting the stems in and had to drill a few more holes as I went

 
 
casketbase.jpg
Woodenmossboxes.jpg
floraguppysinboxes.jpg
holesdrilled.jpg
foliagestep.jpg

Lessons Learnt

To be honest, it all went to plan really! I think in hindsight the boxes could have been a little shorter as I felt like there was a bit of a bank of foliage, however the viburnum draping over helped to break that up.

Some stems didn’t like being in the moss overnight and were wilted by morning (clematis, some viburnum) but stems such as craspedia, aster, sweet william) were fine, but I think this is just part of the process to find out what works and what doesn’t. I quite enjoyed the challenge and i was pleased with the end result.

I know that I’m in a different position to those bigger and busier florists who maybe wouldn’t have the time to make their own bases but I do think there’s a gap in the market which would help florist like me who want to reduce our impact on the environment.

finishedcasketspray.jpg
Bloomin' Waste!

In my previous life before I became a florist, I worked in the event industry and more specifically, implementing sustainable management systems within events and their organisations.

Being passionate about looking after the environment, staff welfare and ensuring process are in place to help the business or event run to plan - should have ensured that I do the same with my own business.

To some degree I have naturally followed a sustainable way of working by doing the following;

- Not over ordering and creating more financial and actual waste

- Recycling where possible

- Using materials that can be reused by the customer (jugs, gift bags, transporter boxes)

- Combining orders so less transportation required

- Minimal printing of marketing material and always on FSC paper

- Exhibition materials are non dated and resuable so cuts down on waste and is financially sensible!

- Processes for operational control being developed

- Stakeholder engagement though social media

So, all going in the right direction for a fairly new business but I know I can do more and I think that if I can lock down my operational processes and start to measure my waste, mileage, materials etc I will feel happier and more secure about the business and will allow me to communicate more about practices and maybe help others.

I've already started looking into how to reduce plastic waste and sourcing a more sustainable solution - hopefully I may have found this with a VegWare product but it needs further testing. I've reduced the amount used on bouquets by 2/3's by cutting out the 'dressing' and just using enough to hold water for wet packs. (See pic)

So my goal over the next few months will be to identify my targets and set time scales to them, I need to be selfish and set aside a good day to do this without kids, dogs and weddings :D

Any feedback you have would be great, I'd love to hear if you think this is good practise or if you're not at all bothered!

sustainableflorist