We chat to a couple of innovative farmer/florists about their arrangements, sustainable practices, public workshops and about the trend in dried flowers.
Like many industries, the world of floristry is changing. Some flowers are imported from far flung countries and heavily sprayed, and many floristry practices still involve materials that are less than ideal for our planet. However, there’s now more of a choice around your flowers: where and how they are grown, and how they are packaged and delivered.
Another eco-friendly option is using dried flowers (a trend that’s still going strong) – in bouquets, in striking wall installations, fashioned around mirrors and suspended from ceilings for a wonderful canopy of textures and colours.
Raglan Floral Co
Kristel Lindfield from Raglan Floral Co grows her flowers at her Raglan home. “In the summertime, the majority of my flowers are from my property, especially for weddings.” She says it’s ideal being able to pick “delicate, dainty” flowers for bouquets on the day, such as beautifully scented garden roses in romantic tones.
Kristel grows blooms such as dahlia, cosmos, nigella, “flowers with a traditional, romantic feel”, as well as lots of natives. “The shrubs, vines and foliage – those are the elements that really make your flowers special,” she says.
Her sustainable approach to growing starts from her gentle no-till approach to the soil, with a focus on building up the soil’s health, and only natural sprays are used on the plants. She avoids things like oasis floral foam, all her wrapping is reusable or compostable, and she only uses New Zealand-grown product.
Kristel dries many of the flowers and uses them in many creative ways, including DIY dried floral packages that she sends out with instructions – sounds like a fun home workshop idea. (She also notes her brides are choosing their bouquets with a view to drying them as keepsakes.)
Her workshops are fun events where you can get a group together to make flower crowns or dried wreaths, or spend a day learning about growing, harvesting and arranging cut flowers, plus there are kids’ workshops too.
Pretty Bloom Room – Cust Flower Farm
Another farmer/florist, Renée Williamson is the owner of Pretty Bloom Room – Cust Flower Farm, just out of Rangiora in Canterbury. Her business is based at her home property, where she grows flowers and has a workshop.
“I predominately grow perennials, instead of flowers from seed, as they dry better,” she explains, naming hydrangeas, peonies, roses and gypsophila as favourites. When choosing what to plant, she asks herself: “Is it something brides will love? Will it grow back every year? Is it a dryable flower?”
Renée has seen a massive growth in demand for dried flowers, especially for homes; her creations range from simple bouquets to elaborate hanging installations. She’s starting out in wedding arrangements and is interested in marrying fresh and dried flowers in bridal bouquets.
Keep her business as sustainable as possible, Renée avoids sprays, uses recycled wrapping and avoids plastic. Her flower subscription approach is all about being waste free, too: she delivered the flowers to the door, loose in a bucket for people to arrange themselves, and at the same time, picks up the bucket from the previous delivery. “It’s a ‘straight from the farm’ look. I want to let people know the person who delivered them, has grown them.”
Renée’s DIY Bridal Bucket is along the same lines, although the brides pick which blooms they want. “I work out how many buckets they need, then the bridesmaids make them together the night before,” she says.
Renée’s held a couple of mother and daughter workshops, where they’ve made heart-shaped wreaths, and more classes are planned, from bridal bouquets to arranging flowers at home, as well as some school holiday fun for kids. Keep an eye out.
Check Pretty Bloom Room out here: hooley.co.nz/listing/pretty-bloom-room-cust-flower-farm/
By Sarah Nicholson