by Susanne P. Loweth, www.beamsleyblooms.co.uk
Over the last few years, environmentally conscious florists and flower arrangers have been looking for ways of arranging flowers without using floral foam and other single-use plastics. Although there have been courses offered that are dedicated to teaching foam-free arranging techniques, there has been a gap in the market for a modern guide to arranging flowers in an environmentally friendly way. It was therefore good news when Flowers from the Farm member, Sarah Diligent announced last year that she and William Mazuch of Floribunda Rose Floral Design were seeking Kickstarter crowd funding to publish such a guide.
The first appeal failed to reach the necessary funding, but the second attempt was successful and the guide came out in July this year.
The guide that Sarah and William have produced is very comprehensive with excellent, clear line drawings and simple step-by-step instructions with sustainability at the heart of this guide at every step of the way*.
Divided into more than thirty sections, it covers tools, equipment, containers, sundries and resources, advice on cutting and conditioning floral material as well as step-by-step illustrated instructions for how to create a wide range of bouquets, arrangements and floral installations.
As can be seen from the extensive list of the contents above, there is pretty much everything florists and flower arrangers would need to know in order to become more eco-friendly in their methods.
The lists of tools and materials go into great detail and explain what each of them is used for. Likewise, in the methods section, great care is taken to explain not just the how but the why.
Step-by-step guides to creating arrangements are simple and easy to follow for florists at every level of experience. It is like having a one-to-one class with Sarah and William with the added benefit of extensive notes that you will always be able to refer back to.
I like the broad scope of the book and the tone of the writing. Rather than preaching to the reader about why we should all try to reduce the harmful impact of our flower arranging practices, the authors demonstrate how it is possible to create almost any arrangement without floral foam.
I particularly like William Mazuch’s clear and informative line drawings that accompany the instructions.
I had two questions for Sarah about the book. One was why the word “sustainable” had been dropped from the title since the first, unsuccessful crowdfunding attempt. I thought that “A Guide to Sustainable Floral Mechanics” described the scope of the book very accurately but Sarah explained that she and William could not set up a second Kickstarter crowd-funding appeal with exactly the same title as the first, hence the need to drop “sustainable” from the book title.
My second point was about the cover of the book. I feared that, due to being bound in non-glossy paper, it would get marked very easily and might not withstand repeated referencing while users had water and flower sap all over their hands.
Sarah told me that she and William were currently planning a ‘workbench’ ring-bound format for the book which would be more water resistant, using a coating that is biodegradable in time. I do hope that this goes ahead as it will make the guide an even more useful tool of practical floristry.
In my view, this book is a very useful resource of tips and methods of sustainable floristry and one which should be on the list of must-have books for every floristry student, florist and flower arranger.
William Mazuch and Sarah Diligent. Photograph by Clara Molden
*The paper chosen is fully recyclable and biodegradable with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, meaning that the pulps used are all from managed forests. It is also Heavy Metal Free and, because the bleaching process avoids the use of harmful chlorine, it is classified ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free). The printers have a zero to landfill policy and the packaging is Green Jiffy bags and recyclable cardboard book wraps.