Part 1 “Reclaimed Youth” a sustainable installation

When creating the concept for my 2013 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show display, I knew that sustainability was my top priority. This 3-post series provides some insights into how I built Reclaimed Youth in line with my sustainability goals…

No Floral Foam

Avoiding this product has been a passion of mine since I started my business. As you’ll find out in a future post, I have many health and environmental concerns about floral foam. The majority of my designs are self-supporting, with no need for such a product, however this display was an exception.

IMG_5461So how did I keep the flowers in place and looking lush for 6 days?

The answer is rockwool.

Widely used by hydroponics growers, this is NOT a fibreglass product, but is actually derived from a mix of rock and sand, which is spun at a high temperature into a dense, spongy fibre.

It must be said however, that although rockwool is a fantastic medium for growing plants and it holds water incredibly well, it still has some significant drawbacks which prevent it from being the perfect replacement for traditional florists’ foam.

Just like floral foam, rockwool

  • isn’t biodegradeable (neither are the rocks its made from)
  • the loose fibres and dust may also cause some skin and respiratory irritation.

Unlike floral foam, rockwool is not made of toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde and carbon black. My decision to use rockwool in my exhibit gave me peace of mind knowing that neither myself nor my team would be exposed to these chemicals and that there was no chance of them off-gassing or leaching once the product reached landfill.

Using rockwool also helped me to avoid excess water usage, as it holds water so well I never needed to top up any of the arrangements as I might have done if I’d used traditional floral foam.

Click here for Part 2

Click here for Part 3