Eco Flower Festival in Blockley
Last summer, Blockley Church held an eco flower festival. The Revd Canon Dana Delap describes how the festival came about.
“The idea for the eco-flower festival came a few months ago when we stopped using oasis to display church flowers. Oasis is generally partially or not at all recyclable and having applied for our A Rocha silver eco-award, we wanted to be more aware of the plastic waste we were leaving. Shop flowers often come wrapped in cellophane, and that too concerned us. So we began to plan how to encourage other people in the villages to grown flowers in their gardens for their homes and for church.”
The church had applied for a wildlife garden grant of £250. Some of the money was spent on hedgehog boxes and bug houses and the school installed bird boxes. They also plan to buy flower plugs for the wild area of the churchyard which will supplement the plants already indigenous to the area. The plastic-free flower festival was a celebration of the natural beauty around them.
“Nearly twenty clubs and societies in the villages agreed to display flowers in jugs, watering cans and jam jars. The foliage and flowers came from our fields, hedgerows, allotments and gardens, and were displayed with appropriately representative artifacts – books, bells, garden tools, bottles of wine and jam, and even flowery cupcake cases from the toddler group.
“Even better, volunteers came to engage the visitors in making a churchyard labyrinth, painting rocks to be hidden around the village, searching for bugs and birds, and building a 3-metre hip, berry and nut mandala with the children for the animals and birds to eat over the winter. Wax wraps, soap and eco-friendly household cleaning products were on display and available for order from Old Farm at Dorn, offering sustainable alternatives to plastic and harsh chemicals.
“During the weekend, there was a real sense of ownership from those who arranged flowers and from Blockley as a whole. It was easy and free to bring simple arrangements, and that was attractive to people who were not confident in arranging flowers. We offered fairly traded refreshments to all who came and sat with them to heard stories about what the church means to this and other local communities.
Celebration, service of the community and challenging poverty are at the core of harvest festival, and at Blockley this year we certainly challenged people to look at their wider responsibility for the environment too.
The Revd Canon Dana Delap
If Dana has inspired you to think more about the environmental impact of your flower festival, you might want to think about signing your church up for an Eco Church Award.