Thursday, March 28, 2013

Making A Pomander-Without Floral Foam

As some of you know, Local Color Flowers made a New Year’s resolution to give up floral foam this year. Last week, we had a new floral foam free design challenge-flower girl pomanders.

A floral pomander, or kissing ball is a basically a ball of flowers that is carried on a ribbon “strap” like a purse. Normally, we would use a little floral foam ball, soaked in water, filled with flowers with a ribbon attached.

foam ball

The end result would look something like this.


To tackle this design challenge, I first posted a note on the Flower Farmers facebook group. This is a relatively new group made up of flower farmers, designers and enthusiasts. My post elicited lots of suggestions and comments which was super helpful. I was surprised and how many people had tried inventive, creative ways to make pomanders.

I took the ideas to the studio with me and posed the challenge to Carling and Irene. Our idea was basic-find something round that we could poke flowers into or glue flowers to.


This hodge podge group of materials represents some of the items we tried: an apple, a tulip bulb, a ball of boxwood rigged together and a wired ball of moss.


After a couple attempts, we settled on a little ball of crumpled up soft, aluminum wire stuffed with moss. we then used oasis floral glue to glue the ranunculus on to the moss.


The end result looked great!


For improvements, I think we would try to just use a ball of moss or something that could be totally composted.  Overall though, I think we were excited about the results.

If anyone else has made pomanders without using floral foam, I’d love to hear about your experience and any suggestions you have for floral foam free projects.

Monday, March 25, 2013

2013: The Year Local Color Flowers Gives Up Floral Foam

You know when you set a goal for yourself (run a marathon, loose 20 lbs.) but you don’t want to tell people, because you’re afraid you’ll fail? That’s a little bit how I felt about giving up floral foam. After reading Debra Prinzing’s book the 50 Mile Bouquet, I was inspired to make the change. I loved reading about west coast designers that rejected floral foam because of poor environmental and health impacts. But I felt nervous…committed for sure…but nervous.

It’s not like we even use floral foam a lot. We don’t. But we have used it. We used it for floral wreaths, pomanders, centerpieces in shallow vessels and more.  Floral foam is great at what it does, keep stems in place and hydrated.

When I’ve mentioned to people in the past few months that we’re going to give up floral foam, they inevitably ask WHY? (and give me a kind of crazy look) There are two main reasons we’re doing this:

  • Floral foam contains formaldehyde and other carcinogens
  • Floral foam is not biodegradable, recyclable or compostable
  • Floral foam is expensive and not reusable.

As a company, we want to use LESS harmful materials, generate LESS waste and spend LESS money on “stuff”.

I knew there were alternatives to foam, especially for centerpieces, but I didn’t really understand all of them and still don’t, but I’m ready to learn.

Our first lesson came from Carol Caggiano when she came to do a training for us back in February. Carol showed us how to use curly willow and soft aluminum wire as a base to hold our stems in place.

Just crumple it up…and voilà!  the wire is reusable and the curly willow is compostable.

wire 4

Since then, we’ve used it a few times in situations where we would have used foam.  It worked great, including in this large arrangement with a very wide opening and a very shallow base.

spring explosion

It also worked great with this tiny crystal, footed bowl.


wire 2

Over the next year, we’ll do a series of blog posts any time we’re faced with a design challenge where we would normally use foam. We’ll keep you posted on our progress and our creative solutions to eliminate floral foam. Write or comment and tell us about your green practices!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Real Weddings: Michele and Justin

After a short winter break, weddings have started up again here LoCoFlo and we’re so excited! Michele and Justin were married this February in an intimate ceremony in their Hampden home. Surrounded by a small group of family and friends, Michele and Justin committed to a beautiful life together.

Michele and her sister Lyndsey were awesome in providing us lots of creative inspiration from Pinterest for décor.  Using winter as a theme, we used lots of creamy whites, evergreens and browns with pops of red and purple to create a seasonal backdrop for this beautiful wedding.

The bride’s bouquet was filled with locally grown white tulips, paper whites, dusty miller, camellia foliage, succulents, mini-pine cones and lotus pods.


The mantle, decorated with candles, evergreens, pine cones and mercury glass votives, was being watched over by an awesome winter owl.


To create a special spot for the ceremony, we constructed a birch arch with some evergreens, pussy willows, pinecones and flowers for the couple to stand in front of.


After the  ceremony, the couple and and their family and friends enjoyed dinner at the newest farm to table restaurant in Federal Hill – Liv2Eat in Federal Hill.

Dinner took place in a private room in the restaurant. All of the details in the intimate location were super fun to put together. Each of the chairs were decorated with a burlap wrap and pine cones.


We made these awesome birch place card holders (with cutting help from our friends at Baltimore Architectural Detail) for each of the guests. The matched perfectly with the birch covered vases we used for the centerpieces.


KBG_2568 KBG_2566

Special thanks to our winter growers! Growing flowers/foliage in the winter is not as fun/easy as growing flowers in warmer weather. We’re so grateful for folks like Farmhouse Flowers, PlantMasters, Seaberry Farm and LynnVale Studios for growing year round!

Special thanks to Kirsten Beckerman for these beautiful photos. To see more photos from Michele and Justin’s wedding, check out LoCoFlo’s flickr page.

Finally, thanks to Michele and Justin for allowing us to be part of their most special of days. We’re wishing them both a lifetime of happiness together!