Thought you might like to hear the story of how we got to build a giant floral crown for RHS Malvern Spring Show in May this year. It was such an honour to be selected to represent all that we believe in and to be able to give talks and demonstrations to an audience hungry to learn more about sustainability. I was so excited to be sharing a platform with Flowers from the Farm and to be asked to show Princess Ann around the Jubilee celebrations. But I will share with you the thought process and the dark, tortured night of the soul that accompanied the commission. Here is the email I sent the amazing show team after a particularly fretful night.
I’ve been tossing and turning all night thinking about this giant crown . . .
You know, I really think we are missing a trick here. When you asked me if I would be the spokesperson for sustainable floristry at RHS Malvern Spring Show, I was so delighted. Talking about what sustainable floristry means and how people can translate that into their own lives, that’s what I’m passionate about. We grow all our own flowers on our organic soil association farm and only use what is in season in our floristry, so I thought that demonstrating that in May would be a joy.
Now we come to the “Wow Factor” Floral crown installation ideas . . . Of course, anything is possible, anything can be made, but at what price — not just financially but also to the environment? After I had the meeting with my metal fabricator about making the armature for the crown, he turned to me and said, “Fiona, why don’t you just make it out of that green stuff? It would be so much lighter.” He meant floral foam, of course.
So here was my problem: I would be talking and demonstrating sustainable floristry while at the same time being involved in the making of a giant metal crown suspended from the ceiling, which—because of the mechanics of foam-free floristry—would challenge the whole crew and beyond.
Sustainable floristry is all about using the resources we have, and the flowers that are in season. It is measured, considered and ultimately beautiful because it is rooted in the moment. It is not promising unlimited choice or dreaming of exotic locations. Sustainable floristry is an art form made from botanical materials that come from the soil we stand on, created by people who have a connection to nature and who can make displays on the same day as a visitor might view the work. It is transitory, fragile and maybe not so flamboyant. But to me it has integrity and authenticity and it is the only floristry that we should be practicing.
In the middle of the night I felt as if I had wondered into an episode of one of those hectic TV floral challenge programs, where teams have an hour to make a massive floral white elephant . . .
Now in the morning light, I know I have to talk to you. I need to steer you, if possible, away from the hanging installation and towards something much more authentic and manageable for all of us. I think I can make you a WOW factor crown that would sit on a grassy knoll. Instead of floating it will literally be rooted in the soil. The crown will have knobbly, gnarly roots that decorate the grass. The crown can then be much more delicate, and we can use willow and wood, decorated with moss and all the beauties of May. This crown will be a true representation of our monarch and her connection to the country. The smaller crowns will hover around the outside of the piece and represent the people.
Please call me and put me out of my misery.
And thank goodness, they did put me out of my misery. We agreed on the grassy knoll and the rest is history.
The Bloom Theatre RHS Malvern Spring Show 2022 will go down in history as one of Electric Daisy Flower Farm’s most memorable weekends.
Thanks to an amazing EDFF team of women who made it happen.
What a story.
When I saw the pictures of the finished article, I couldn’t have imagined you would have considered building it out of anything else.
Especially with your team along to help. Weave and tie and tuck everything in place.
Everyone looks exhausted but happy.
Hope you educated the steel man about not using green stuff.
The Crown / Crowns looked absolutely magical and showed off your creativeness.. really inspiring !