Cape Town could very well be the first city ever to run out of water.  Prediction is that water supply will run dry on 21 April 2018.  We are currently in the midst of a very serious drought.


We need to work together to help conserve our precious resource and to change the way we use our water. 


Level 6B water restrictions are now in effect which means that each household must use less than 50 litres of water per person per day.  These restrictions entail a ban on all use of municipal drinking quality water for outside and non-essential purposes. Municipal drinking water is to only be used for essential washing, cooking and drinking purposes and only indoors.

If you have good reason for higher consumption one needs to provide the City with adequate motivation to justify and this is going to become more and more difficult to justify.


Reality is that we need to be taking the drought very, very seriously.  Although most households are making an attempt to keep within the restrictions it does not seem to have registered that we need to apply behavior modifications outside of the home as well. 


For florists operating from home and who do not have a borehole or well point we are in big trouble!  How are we possibly going to keep going through the current wedding season?

Brides are in love with garden fresh flowers eg hydrangeas, roses, ranunculas, anenomes, tulips.  These flowers need a LOT of water.  Not only do they need to be properly prepped they need a constant water supply.  I did some homework the other day and took a look at an average size wedding I do florals for.  My buckets hold 20 litres of water and I use a minimum of 30 buckets per wedding.  Oasis needs to be soaked in water prior to use.  Once arrangements are complete the vases need to be filled and on set up day we need to top them up or refill (particularly if using glass vases where one can see any residue from stems and leaves that may have dropped into the water).  On completion of a wedding all the buckets and vases need cleaning.  A conservative estimation is therefore 500 litres of water per wedding.  That is the daily allowance for 5 people.


Using grey water, other than for cleaning out buckets is not feasible for these fragile flowers.

We seriously need to be altering how we think.  As devastating as it is not to fulfill dreams of luscious garden flowers we need to endeavor to change the way we think and the way brides to be are thinking.


South Africa is rich with the most awesome indigenous flowers and foliage.  Yes, I understand that this is not everyone’s vision but the thought of having drinking water rationed is a far worse concept.  Indiginous plants are all around us.  Think about Proteas, leucadendrums, barbaton daisies, reeds and ericas to name only a few.   Aloes and succulents are another option and make extremely striking and different floral features or can be included in arrangements and bouquets with the bonus of being right on trend.


I am heartbroken that we will need to think differently.  There is nothing a floral designer enjoys more than arranging with lovely soft, fresh, beautiful smelling garden flowers. 


I have been pushing myself to start thinking out of the box and how we can create stunning table décor using less garden flowers.   These are some of the ideas I came up with :


  1. A stunning tablecloth should be the canvas.  Brides will need to explore napery and use rich colours, textured cloths, layering or florals which will create an immediate impact.

Consider incorporating a floral serviette.

  1. We need to be aware that vases and containers can be an integral part of our table décor and look for patterned and textured vases than can be offset by more minimalistic florals.
  2. Candles, candles, candles and lighting.  If we use more candles on our tables we will need less florals.  Use candles in different heights, different sizes in a selection of candleholders and/or candelabra. Taper candles, pillar candles, floating candles.  People are already becoming adventurous using coloured candles to set off table décor.  We no longer just use plain white candles.
  3. We have always glossed over the use of glassware and generally brides choose to go with the standard wine glasses provided by venues.  However, this is another aspect of table décor that can add detail and/or a fun element.  Cut glass always looks incredible with flickering candlelight, a coloured wine glass or even a drinking glass that it just a little bit different.  Every element adds another “layer” on to your table décor.
  4. Concentrate on incorporating really special stationery elements.  Interesting stationery always packs a punch.  People love personalized stationery.  Do not be afraid to use pattern, colour and awesome fonts.


I am really emphasizing what I have always said.  Great table décor is not just one element alone but rather a variety of different elements, working together to create wow tablescapes.


We will need to step out of our comfort zones and really examine how we work.  Water shortages are not going away.  In the long term our water supplies are inadequate even if we do experience some good rainfall.  In the immediate we are facing catastrophe and I cannot even envisage the chaos that is going to ensue should our water supplies dry up to the extent that households will need to be rationed with daily drinking water.


At the very least let us attempt to reduce the number of garden type imported flowers that are used for weddings.  A bucket or 2 of roses for bouquets we can probably just manage.


I look forward to seeing how we all are going to step up to the challenge -  florists, brides, co-ordinators alike and I know there is going to be incredible creativity.  I am by no ways saying that there is no way we can do garden flowers, I am just saying we are going to have a new normal.


Bright and Beautiful will not start adding an extra charge onto our floral arrangements to enable us to buy bottles of water for our buckets and vases.  Unfortunately, much of the bottled water is from the drought stricken areas which makes no sense.  I will be keeping my eyes open to buy bottled water from areas outside the drought zone.  We need to learn to VALUE water. 


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