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Floral foam. Is it one of the bad guys?

As plastics and polymers become so much a part of our everyday life I have begun to worry that  the earth will eventually become a huge plastic rubbish pile on land and in the oceans. Impossible? What if you knew that a huge percentage of plastics/polymers/resins and their derivatives manufactured  every day are NOT RECYCLABLE! That means they will sit  around for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

Does it not follow that each of us has to  either make sure the plastics and polymers we use are the recyclable ones or break down back to their organic origins?

Rumours have been flying around for years that floral foam is one of the bad guys… in other words it does not breakdown and every time you use a block you are adding to the global heap of plastic pollution. So I went searching on one  of the main manufacturer’s  websites. They say,” OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife will biodegrade 25 percent within 18 months in biologically active landfill conditions 1.”

Notice the 1 at the end. In the footnote it states, “1. This product has been shown by ASTM D5511 to biodegrade 25% within 18 months in biologically active landfill conditions. Appropriate facilities may not exist in your area. The rate and extent shown do not mean that the product will continue to decompose.”

The source is

So what about the other 75% still sitting in that landfill? Imagine every florist in the world, using even 5 blocks of floral foam a day. How much floral foam is that polluting the earth EVERY DAY? How many places have the appropriate landfill to de-construct 25% of it? Does anyone know? Do you care? Is it ‘out of sight, out of mind’?

As a responsible florist, editor and keeper of my small piece of the planet I have maintained an active floristry business for the last year and NOT USED ONE SINGLE BIT OF FLORAL FOAM. Over this time I have investigated myriad ways to use other mechanics that are natural, readily available and largely free.

If you  want to also save the planet from becoming one huge layer of plastic but don’t think you could survive in business without your floral foam, I recommend three videos to you to get started. All three show you alternative, effective, easily found mechanics, I have used over the last year.
Their links are:

Please think seriously about joining the quest to use less plastic and polymers in as many ways as you can so we are not leaving our planet a worse place than we found it.

Thank you

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Rub Shoulders with European Champion Florists

How often do you get the chance to rub shoulders with European Champion florists who have been judged the best in their own countries? It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us, you will agree.

Hot new construction flower arrangement methods
Hot new construction flower arrangement methods

What if you could jump the barriers, linger in sessions closed to the public, and watch every stage as they all competed to become the best florist in Europe? Would that be AMAZING or what! Well here it is, as Pavol Kaššák did just that , running from demonstrations theatres to competition halls and back again to capture all the action in minute detail for you to study. Backed up by the passionate designers, Madeleine Sarradell and Gilles Vial-Caille we are able to bring you the best of the best in this and the June edition.

You will see the unique mechanics close up, the constructions methods all uncovered and exposed- in fact a dream seat in the front row as you are handed the hottest new trends and techniques on a plate!

Each time we have suggested how you can use these pieces in your own flower arranging, because what you are about to see is the future, the exciting emerging trends in floral design.

But ringing in my ears was a criticism about covering these extraordinary events from one of our readers, “But they are not relevant to my situation, so they are not of interest to me”, she wrote. The challenge was thrown down.

6 lessons using European Floral Mechanics
6 lessons using European Floral Mechanics

The result is this month’s companion video . I took 6 of the most interesting mechanics from this issue’s coverage, and used the same methods to create 6 extraordinary floral gifts that could be easily carried out of a flower shop, or into the car to take to a friend. The optional video is a simple and quick way to try out these new ideas for little expense and using equipment you may already have in your home or office.

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If you miss the Christmas blog you miss this BIG news.

You have missed out on my  digital Christmas Special published October 2015 . That means you missed out on some pretty big stuff.

.I want to help you increase your share and really get into the spirit of Christmas.
You missed out on some pretty big stuff.

Not only is Christmas the BIG opportunity to increase sales and attract new clients who will be long term I have personally selected content in the Christmas Special to accentuate your point of difference.

I know people spend a lot of money at Christmas but your flower sales can go down as you compete with the big players. I want to help you increase your share and really get into the spirit of Christmas.

This new approach to selling Christmas flowers can start right now because working harder is not the answer, nor is working longer hours for the same results

The problem is all those cheap imports, the plastic nic nacs and baubles, the mountains of cheap and nasty being sold to the masses where everything looks the same

I show you how the successful floral designers are fighting back. They don’t want the same, they are looking for the different, the unique, the one offs. They want to sell floral design that their clients can’t find anywhere else. They know their clients want the new, the interesting and the beautiful.

Don’t waste your valuable time ploughing through the internet or flower magazines for hours looking for random ideas and inspiration. Most of the time the plant material used is expensive or hard to get in your area or you have no idea how the pieces were made. Besides could your customers even afford to buy them as they take so long to make?

The Christmas edition of floral design shares:

Many different pieces you can make to attract new Christmas customers,

Gives you floral ideas to deal with Christmas this year that you haven’t tried before.

Fixes the problem of low budgets, (yours or your customers)

Explains the techniques in full if you think you lack some floristry skills,

Shows you how to making Christmas pieces that are interesting and affordable

All the designs are personally selected by me to give you   new skills, a range of prices, with budget suggestions and substitution. All the techniques are explained in full, not just a series of pretty pictures.

Floral design magazine has been covering the world’s best florists for 16 years. Our Correspondents are constantly seeking out the newest trends and taking the cameras behind the scenes to see how the designs are being made so you can learn more skills.

Our team are flower arrangers and florists who know what you are looking to learn, so you can always have new and interesting designs on display to keep your customers coming back.

Floral Design  magazine is unique, the only one to bring designs from all around the world, the only one to tell you how to make the design, the only one to not use press releases for content, but go to the competition, exhibitions and small flower shows to see the emerging creativity.

Floral design magazine is your valuable resource,

Make time to read it, learn from it, try out the techniques in it

So that that it will flood you with torrents of inspired floral design to make

and attract more customers to you this Christmas,

Say hello to improved profit margin, improved sales.

This Christmas special is your helping hand, your mentor. We are excited about this Christmas, and about you, as you have discovered a viable, valuable resource that will send your Christmas sales through the roof! Download it now!

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Turn your hoard into cash this Christmas

Have you been watching the ‘hoarders’ programme on TV? If you have’t been exposed to it, it is probably a good thing as it makes for difficult viewing. Unfortunate people are exposed who spend their lives accumulating rubbish and junk in the hope that one day it will be useful. The results are terrifying!

This week I have had 3 flower arrangers tell me that after watching the programme they have started to clean out their own hoard of ‘floral treasures’ . My vase room has had a similar treatment as, after all, when are treasures, junk? When does it become too much? When will any of us use all that accumulation of dried plant material and the latest fashion items that we bought and never used?

Florists are less prone to the hoarders’ disease as they buy, add value and sell. Most don’t have room for excessive collecting anyway and stock not moving is a burden on cash flow. But flower arrangers don’t have the same restraints and many quickly fill up the room/shed/garage they have available to them.

Now is your opportunity to use up all those treasures if you are as guilty as I am. Aim to completely empty your storage space. Nothing left except a shelf of extremely useful vases and a tool box. No dried plant material, no ribbons, no unused candles, decorative wire, old projects… nothing!

Take a leaf from the florists’ book and use the lessons in this edition of floral design

Make your own Christmas Floral Decorations magazine
Make your own Christmas Floral Decorations magazine

magazine and the companion DVD to make all the

Make your own Christmas Floral Decorations now on DVD
Make your own Christmas Floral Decorations now on DVD

Christmas decorations, gifts, wreaths, table settings and sideboard arrangements to use up your hoard. Book yourself a place in your local pre-Christmas market and sell them all!

The result? Extra cash to start collecting all over again or if your hoard is big enough, you may be able to get yourself to one of the fabulous floral events you have been invited to (more at the back of this floral design magazine).

After all, what are you keeping those treasures for? Yes, for right now, for Christmas 2014. And I guarantee you, you will have loads of fun along the way!

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Wedding Trends 2014

It has been interesting watching how the wedding ceremonies have changed over the last
20 years in New Zealand.

The sharp contrast to my own wedding continues to surprise
me. Gone is the event being paid for by the Mums and Dads and with that, the tight control
over the ceremony, flowers and expectations being passed on from the older ‘ruling’

With the purse strings firmly held by the bride and groom, the complete affair
has become a display of individuality that reflects their tastes, budget and sense of style.
The vows are written and personal to the event, the order of ceremony is not fixed in any
way and the marriage itself can be held anywhere at any time. Why, you don’t even have
to wear shoes any more! With this huge cultural shift, the importance of using social media
to show these new technology savvy brides what can be possible in floral accessories
can’t be emphasized enough. They are all looking for what they like, in colour, style and
flower choices

Almost the first place they look is Pinterest such as our own board 

Filled with millions of pictures of floral bouquets, the ones that grab the bride’s attention are pinned to their own Pinterest boards… and that is how they are picking their wedding florist! Not by trawling through websites, or automatically using the one nearest to them, as perhaps was the case even 5 years ago.

In this rapidly changing world social media is the key. In my opinion it
therefore follows, that if all they are exposed to, is millions of pictures of handtied posies
with wrapped ribbon handles they will think that is all there is! Just the thought of doing
them for 40 years should drive you crazy!

wedding special floral design magazine 2014

And that is why this annual wedding edition of floral design exists…

… to inspire you with new ideas to try, photograph and add to your own
Pinterest board for the brides to find.

With enough wedding florists doing this we will
continue to have an inspiring, evolving and exciting wedding industry that includes a feast
of floral innovation every time.

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Flowers in Ice- a new approach

fowers in ice, will they freeze and go brown?
flowers in ice

Will  flowers go brown in ice?  Are some flowers better than others? what happens when you add tealights? 

These are the questions I wanted answered when I gathered a small group of passionate flower arrangers together yesterday to experiment with ice.  The results were awesome! We discovered the difference  made by freezing water when it is still very hot, compared with chilling it down first. We marvelled at  the fabulous effects when our finished pieces were put out in the sun. And then they started to melt. WOW! Suddenly we had bubbles moving which were still encased in the ice, and we were audience to nature’s own kinetic sculpture.

 So why don’t we use it more often? A fantastic resource; after all we all have access to water and you only need that, a mould and a freezer! Well perhaps a bit of imagination! I will definitely being creating ice and flower arrangements this Summer for the outside BBQ table.

Fortunately I had the camera (and MIke for the video) with me so I have captured  what we did for the June 2014 edition of floral design magazine.  That edition comes out on June 9th so subscribe today and be guaranteed of more of my experimental adventures each month with flowers. It’s just a click away at

If you are already an ice queen with flowers, email me  pictures of your creations… I can always add extra pages in that edition just for you! Me. I’m off to find a plastic traffic cone that needs to be filled with water…but will it fit in my freezer? Mmmm.

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Shoot your way to success


Create the perfect setting for your flower arrangement before you take the picture
Create the perfect setting for your flower arrangement before you take the picture

If you cannot take beautiful photos of your flower arrangements with your digital camera, you are missing an ENORMOUS opportunity!

I  would LOVE to  show you how to use your digital camera to take the most fabulous photographs of your floral design… and then share my small business secrets on what to do with them!

Don’t miss out on the huge potential of your own, professional standard, flower arranging photos. Discover dozens of ways to turn those flower photographs into inspiring portfolios, gifts, crafts, fund raisers for your club, or even promotional, marketing and branding tools.

If you just can’t take these fabulous photographs of your floral design, as you feel sure that you could never be as great as the professional photographers in your area, I can prove you wrong, wrong wrong!

If you are using a candle always light it!
If you are using a candle always light it!

 As editor and chief photographer for the internationally acclaimed floral design magazine  I, along with our international correspondents produce those stunning flower photographs the magazine is so famous for… and it is all done with no photographic studio, no extra lighting, or the need to buy mega expensive equipment.

In the worst, darkest churches, halls, exhibition spaces you can still get a great photograph of your flower arrangements and I would love to share with you all the inner secrets of how I do it, so you can too!

This way you will be able to record new floral design arrangements or your award winning floral designs in the floral world so that you can always offer your clients what they want, increase your club’s potential fund raisers, or produce your own personal gifts capturing your floral design talents.

And so I wrote an inexpensive downloadable ebook!
When you order this floral photography electronic ebook, delivered to you via email, you will finally learn all about your digital camera… written in non-technical language, with my own fabulous photographs to illustrate each point. This means you will actually see what I am talking about and be able to understand the concepts easily!

Learn how your digital camera can double or even triple your flower shop income
Learn how your digital camera can double or even triple your flower shop income

In part 2 of the ebook learn how to create gifts, stationery, crafts, promotional material, items you can sell, in fact all the different ways you can use these fabulous photos you can now take, for your own pleasure or profit. This section is divided into 3 parts: Using your photos for profit, for business promotions and for pleasure.

Just one of these ideas will get you back the $US 10 you invested in this ebook! Yes, that is all it iyour investment amounts to!

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Do you know what triaxial weaving is? It is WOW!

Weave your lineal plant material in 3 directions at once
Weave your lineal plant material in 3 directions at once

All it took was 12 pieces of New Zealand Flax in 3 different colours and I have this amazing piece of weaving. I had never seen this type of weaving before where 3 directions are woven rather than the usual 2 and of course  using plant material to do it was even more exciting.

Try it with any linear plant material that is flexible and after the first one it will be easy! I have  included  in detail how to do it, step by step in the fabulous May 14 edition of floral design magazine available at ( which is only $US8)  and it includes a video link to a  rather hairy  guy who is much more of an expert than me!