Rita Feldmann Flowers offers creative floral design and installations for special events throughout Melbourne and surrounding regions. The design philosophy is founded on sustainable business practices. This includes not using floral foam, the use of reusable vessels, avoiding single-use plastic sundries, managing waste and designing to feature the best locally-grown, seasonal flowers and foliage the Dandenong Ranges has to offer.
Rita Feldmann is Director of the Sustainable Floristry Network and is a regular contributor for Flowers Magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Botany) and a Graduate Diploma of Science Journalism and is available for writing, public speaking, workshops and demonstrations.
My inspiration comes from nature, the landscape and from spending most of my life in the Dandenong Ranges. My goal with each event is to do something unique that celebrates the best of what is in season locally in the chosen space.
I design to support our local industry and growers. We are so fortunate in this region as it produces such a large percentage of cut flowers for the Australian market. In keeping with the principles of the Sustainable Floristry Network, I do not use imported flowers because of the carbon footprint associated with flying perishable flowers into the country and because of the heavy use of post-harvest chemicals in the quarantine process. This process stipulates fumigation and devitalisation of many varieties to prevent the introduction of pests and propagation of plants in Australia. This devitalisation process involves immersing the majority of the cut stem into a glyphosate solution (otherwise known as “Round-Up”). Because of health and environmental concerns associated with the use of these chemicals, I do not wish to expose myself, my co-workers or my clients to the chemically treated stems.
I do not use any floral foam and started the #nofloralfoam movement in the flower industry through the Instagram account @nofloralfoam. Floral foam is a crumbling, non-biodegradable, non-recyclable plastic material. It becomes a microplastic very quickly, dispersing into the environment and water system if not completely contained in landfill. A recent study showed that it can be consumed by aquatic animals and leach toxic compounds. Over the years I have designed many different structures that allow for huge aerial displays and freestanding arrangements and I’ve found that not using foam has directed me to a whole new level of creativity and design.
Cost is driven by different factors including choice of varieties, volume of flowers, complexity of arrangements, how many vehicles/distance required to transport the goods and the number of staff required to work on each job.
The best approach to event flowers is to design around an approximate budget, with an idea of the look and feel you are after, an understanding of the venue’s layout and operation and a knowledge of what is in season locally.