Lessons from Roman Floral Design: Building Sustainable Floristry Today

Dr Patty Baker, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies, has received funding from the Institute of Classical Studies to hold two public outreach events in early 2020. She will work with local floral designers, flower growers, and the Canterbury Flower Club leading workshops that focus on how Roman floral designs and gardening can assist in promoting sustainable floristry today.

This workshop brings together two strands of Patty’s work experience. First, her research focuses on Greco-Roman medicine, health, and wellbeing. Recent publications explore the sensory experiences the Romans had in their gardens along with their conceptions of ‘pure air’ that they believed contributed to their humoral balance that informed their mental and physical health. Through her research, she found that flower crowns, like gardens, were believed to have balancing properties. Second, she had a summer and holiday job when she was an undergraduate working as a florist, so knows the business and how to arrange flowers.

The global nature of the floristry business makes it environmentally unsustainable. There is a movement to grow and buy local, seasonal flowers, as well as to avoid the use of non-biodegradable floral sundries. By introducing historical methods of design to those who work in the field, Patty is hoping to contribute to this growing environmental movement.

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