What do you know about the #nofloralfoam movement?
No floral foam is a movement among florists where we are turning our backs on the use of floral form sometimes referred to as oasis. It is right that we question this product. Just like we are questioning the use of plastic bags, plastic straws and fast fashion etc.
Did you know that floral foam is not biodegradable and it is not re-usable? Long after the flowers have faded and died the foam will last, for possibly hundreds of years.
Rita Feldmann, one of the contributing members of the social media collective @nofloralfoam and florist at Rita Feldmann Flowers says, “The problem is that it’s the same as any other plastic – it breaks down into microplastics. This is a poorly funded area of research, but there is a growing awareness that all plastics are having a detrimental impact on marine ecosystems. Those little pieces are very small. You can imagine in an aquatic environment, those little bits of foam look like biological particles, and could easily be mistaken for food. Microplastics are a huge problem because they are entering the food system at the micro level. And if you consider that floristry is the only application for the product and it is designed to be used wet, it’s amazing that nobody ever considered, ‘what happens to the stuff when it’s washed down the sink?’”
As florists, if we are planning a special event such as a wedding or funeral where displays are often more complex and the use of a lot of floral foam is commonplace, then we should be mindful of opting for alternative, eco-friendly methods of displaying flowers wherever possible.
I created this ‘deconstructed’ arch for a recent wedding at Llanerch Vineyard and I could easily have used floral foam to create it; in fact it would have been easier and quicker to do so but I didn’t. I took a few pics and thought I would share the stages of production for you all to see.
The first stage was to create a ‘sausage’ of chicken wire stuffed with foliage. I used the laurel from a hedge in my garden that was being cut back so super environmentally friendly. A better alternative would be moss as this would work as a moisture source. However I was being environmentally mindful so reused what I had. This ‘sausage’ was formed around a heavy parasol base and an old pole, all recycled products.
The next stage is to add the greenery. This is anchored to the chicken wire and the shape of the arrangement starts here. This natural, free flowing look really suits this design and looked perfect in the marquee. I used long lasting greens that I knew would be fine without a water source such as oak, eucalyptus, magnolia and some forsythia from my garden.
The last stage is to flower it up. Here I used memorial grave vases fixed to the wire. I filled these with floral arrangements of differing stem lengths. Then I used water phials across the design to ensure the flowers flowed naturally throughout. I also used some dianthus, an amazing flower that is super hardy and survives beautifully without water, these filled in any gaps and added colour throughout.
The chicken wire, pole and stand can all be reused for my next display. I didn’t contribute to the landfill at all and I made this beautiful arrangement that still looked awesome the next day.
So what does the future hold for floral foam? There are the new plastic cages from Holly Chapple that allow you to design foam free and are reusable. But still, it's plastic and they are only reusable if the client does not take the arrangement home, this often happens with my weddings and events. There is also a biodegradable foam that is said to biodegrade in under two years in a biologically active landfill. But I have not heard anything about the msds cautions or if the formaldehyde and other toxins and carcinogens are still in this new formula. There is, however, plenty of reusable metal chicken wire which is what I depend on the most when designing foam free.
I would love to say I am planning on going totally foam free but to be honest sometimes I will still be using it, when the design calls for it. But I am cutting down my use and if we all do our little bit; well, that’s what it’s all about right?
By the way, these images are not taken by a professional. I should have planned to do this blog in advance and hired a photographer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I'm Anne-Marie, Petal Power is me. I run my event floristry business out of Creigiau, Cardiff.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. Stay tuned for more.