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Molly Beauchemin

Bouquet of the Week: On The Benefits of Recycling

As part of our recurring Bouquet of the Week series, Garden Collage continues to present a weekly inspirational bouquet that incorporates intriguing new elements into the traditional practice of flower arranging. This week, Garden Collage Editor-in-Chief Molly Beauchemin espouses the merits of cobbling together a bouquet– no matter how few flowers you have at your disposal. 

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I have an inchoate need to recycle. It’s in my bones as an environmental activist and it also informs my design inclinations: do more with less, as the saying goes, and in no field is that lesson more relevant than in the world of floral design, which is one of the most wasteful industries in modern capitalism. As someone who regularly works with flowers, the waste component of this industry weighs on me heavily. Most flowers sold in the U.S. are grown in South America and Africa; shipping them from field to florist releases thousands of pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil fuel emissions alone.

That’s why it’s important not to waste your flowers. A few weeks ago, I was at a beach house in Maine working on another bouquet for which I couldn’t initially decide on a color palette. I ended up over-buying (which is typical), but not by enough to make another full bouquet– or so I initially thought.

Bag Bouquet 2

Molly Beauchemin

The house we were staying in had window boxes full of pink geraniums blooming brightly in the August light, and I had but a single bloom of hydrangea to name and not much else to support it other than an idle stem of orange foxglove.

“Most flowers sold in the U.S. are grown in South America and Africa; shipping them from field to florist releases thousands of pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil fuel emissions alone.”

I realized, however, that the English lavender I had used in the other arrangement could be gathered along with some ferns and other foliage from the neighboring woods, and the handful of plants was small enough that I could use a glass bowl to house them all. I also happened to realize at this very felicitous moment that a purchase I had recently made came in a tiny burlap tote– the perfect size to house (and disguise) the vessel. Without much hesitation, I picked up geranium from outside, gathered the greens, and cut the remaining stems on the diagonal before adding caroling them all into the bowl inside the bag. I tousled the stems to give the arrangement that “effortlessly disheveled” look, and voilà– a bouquet made out of entirely recycled elements. Something from nothing: and what a beautiful bouquet it was.

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