Bishop supports campaign for a more sustainable approach to flower arranging


THE campaign for churches to take a more sustainable approach to flower arranging and to stop using floral foam – often sold as Oasis – in displays was supported by the Bishop of Dudley, the Reverend Martin Gorick.

The Bishop, an avid avid gardener, used a website conversation with Prince of Wales florist Shane Connolly to highlight the environmental dangers of the micro-plastics from which moss is made.

Bishop Gorick said: “Like many, I love to see flower arrangements in church and always admire the ingenuity and skill of flower arrangers; however, I have recently been made aware of the damaging impact of floral foam.

“As a diocese, we are committed to playing our part in the fight against the climate crisis, and stopping the use of floral foam is a change we can make in the fight to reduce single-use plastics. The Royal Horticultural Society has now banned floral foam in its displays at shows, such as Chelsea and Malvern, and I urge churches to take the lead in this area as well to ensure that our wonderful flower displays are as sustainable as possible.

In his conversation, Mr. Connolly explains how floral foam is a by-product of the petrochemical industry. It easily crumbles into microscopic fragments which are not compostable. It is estimated that oases placed in cemetery compost heaps take up to 500 years to decompose and are still not biodegradable. The foam is usually soaked first, and the wastewater containing some of the microplastics is usually thrown down the sink or drain. This contaminates water sources and can eventually enter the human food chain.

He suggests church florists use deeper containers filled with chicken wire to support the large flowers – even regular buckets, which can be covered with ivy. The money saved by not using oasis could instead be spent on buying more suitable containers.

Along with alternatives to moss, Bishop Gorick’s conversation also explores the importance of using locally grown seasonal flowers in church displays, thereby avoiding the carbon footprint of cut flowers, such as roses, imported by air from sources as far away as Kenya.


Rosalie M. Dehner