The Footprint of Flowers
by Holly Marsden
In recent times, as the world feels ever more chaotic, the word sustainability is ringing in many ears.
Many of us are waking up to the reality of what humans are doing to the planet, and are making big shifts in what we consume and how. As nature lovers and florists, we feel strongly that we must do what we can NOW! How can we interact daily with nature without contributing to the destruction caused by unsustainable practices?
Commercial floristry has for many years been highly unsustainable. Flowers are often imported from Timbuktu, travelling vast distances from Holland, Kenya and Israel. When making arrangements flowers are made to stand up straight using strange squidgy green foam containing formaldehyde which does not break down and can be harmful to both humans and aquatic life in the form of micro-plastics.
If this isn’t enough there are also the vast quantities of never-ending plastic used in wrapping of both bouquets and the flowers as they are imported. We can’t escape the fact that creating beautiful floral designs is coming at a cost to our incredible planet.
Here at Frog HQ, we have been working hard to be as sustainable as we possibly can going forward. We have stopped using floral foam (the green squidgy non-biodegradable stuff) in our designs; favouring real water, chicken wire, and re-usable containers. Pre-Covid, we often worked on large-scale installations which called for flowers to be suspended and often required to fit to the space. We have been developing techniques to get flowers in unusual places without the need for floral foam. We have started to offer workshops highlighting more eco-friendly ways of working with flowers and plants, whilst not compromising on design.
We have also had a big re-think of all of our bouquets sent out for delivery. We now send every bouquet off in a glass vase, eliminating the need for copious amounts of plastic wrapping to hold water. Plus every customer gets their very own vase to keep forever!
Where possible, we are connecting with British growers via a network of British flower farmers (www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk)
Here in the UK, the British flowers movement is going from strength to strength. The hope is that if we continue to move away from a reliance on imported flowers, we will be creating a sustainable interaction between grower and buyer, all here in good old Blighty! This will eliminate the air miles flowers travel, and cut out the reliance on precious resources in developing countries, helping to reduce carbon emissions. For more info have a read of this; www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk/blog/the-carbon-footprint-of-flowers
For the past few years we have counted on the glorious goods of Carol Siddorn; www.carolsgarden.co.uk a prolific flower grower based in Cheshire, not too far from Frog HQ. Her flowers are truly beautiful and provide the individuality and character that is sometimes lacking in the regimented, straight stems of their European counterparts. Here at Frog, we simply love a wiggly stem or an unusual shaped flower. Particularly in the summer months, Carol has helped to give us that je ne sais quoi for the perfect bridal bouquet or aisle meadow. Flowers look at their best when loose and free, and Carol’s flowers certainly do dance in all their glory.
By using flowers grown in the UK we are helping to protect insect populations and to promote bio-diversity as well as supporting small independent businesses. The great demand for dried flowers of late offers another example of how we can incorporate everlasting designs into what we offer to cut down on waste. See our shop for some of our dried designs, such as the Au Naturel Globe
As a consumer you have the power! A good place to start is by supporting your local florist and always asking for what’s in season. No florist can currently compete with the prices of giant supermarkets, and supermarkets are major importers of fast flowers. Brexit is certainly doing it’s worst to drive up flower prices too, so you will undoubtedly get more for your money with British.
This is not to say that we are fully there. We still do rely on flowers from abroad, particularly in the winter months, and we hold our hands up and recognise that we still have a long way to go. However, we are trying more and more to work with the seasons, to the bounty offered month to month. In our own way, we are doing our bit, and we are delighted to see that florists the country over are also getting on board with being more sustainable. There is an exciting challenge ahead of us, to keep creating fabulous designs whilst contributing in positive ways to the environment; forcing us to break our old habits and go back to the drawing board. The magic lies in this innovation.
So fellow flower lovers, the question is… are you with us?