PICK ME INSTEAD – SAFE FOLIAGE CHOICES FOR FLORAL PRODUCTS
If you’ve read the article in February’s Australian Flower Industry magazine, you’ll know that some of the popular products used in floristry arrangements can be devastating to the environment.
We’re not talking about florist foam or plastic phials – we’re talking about flowers and foliage. Little pieces of stem and leaf that escape from our bouquets and get into the wild.
IMPORTED ESCAPEES SMOTHER NATIVE PLANTS
They smother native populations of vulnerable plants and take over large areas of bushland. Non-native plant matter can still grow, even after it has been cut and stored for several days. Mother Nature is a powerful force!
Some imported plants are worse than others at causing environmental damage. The article names and shames the worst offenders, including three types of Asparagus fern: trailing asparagus, foxtail fern, and ming fern.
Six varieties of asparagus are on the government’s Weeds of National Significance hit list – A. aethiopicus (asparagus fern), A. Africanus, A. asparagoides (bridal creeper), A. declinatus (bridal veil), A. plumosus (asparagus fern), and A. scandens (climbing asparagus).
PICK ME INSTEAD
Happily for florists and the environment, the Pick Me Instead project has identified perfect alternatives to these enviro-thugs, that are safe to use and native to Australia. It’s a Win-Win!
NO TO ASPARAGUS FERN
If you want a soft, ferny, airy look to your bouquets and arrangements, Emu Feather (Caustis flexuosa) is your perfect choice. It has long slender straight stems that open up into a cloud of delicate soft green fronds. It softens arrangements, adds height and size, and gives a woodsy rustic feel to bouquets.
Dingo Fern has a bright fresh green colour and long straight stems banded with attractive tan-brown strips. The individual fern fronds all the way up the stem are light and airy, like an open fern. This makes Dingo Fern a great filler choice for rustic, wildflower style bouquets and a stylish addition to arrangements.
NO TO FOXTAIL FERN
If you’re looking for something dense, fluffy and tactile, with eye-catching impact, you can’t go past Woolly Bush (Adenanthos). The delicate grey-green colouring, blushing to bronze at the tip, adds elegance to your bouquets and bunches and complements a wide range of flower shades. Plus, that velvety texture – so strokeable!
Goanna Claw (Caustis recurvata) has a unique curly look to the fronds, and long light trailing stems which adapt to bouquet making, classic arrangements, and more creative work in wedding flower crowns, tablecentres and cascading bouquets.
Goanna Claw’s long flexible stems and curly spiralling fronds bend and knit together, making it easy to create all-natural wreaths, garlands, and foliage base for your event and installation pieces.
NO TO MING FERN
The bright apple-green colour and fat fluffy fronds of Koala Fern (Caustis blakei) make it a versatile and attractive foliage for all kinds of creative work. Koala Fern’s long straight sturdy stems are easy for fast bunching and bouquet work, and for adding vertical height to arrangements. The segmented foliage can be cut into individual ‘fluffs’ for basing flower foams and creating wreaths, which makes it a great budget choice.
If you are making a collar for a bouquet, outlining an arrangement, or creating an intricate boutonniere or formal corsage, the native Forest Lace (Stenocarpus) is ideal. The delicate leaf fronds are extremely finely cut, and last well in water; and the subtle soft green shade complements other flower colours beautifully.