entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorweeders digest

weeder’s digest: trend watch 2009: raffia!

by Grace Bonney

Come off it already, leaf-wrapping clear cylindrical vases was so 2008. Peeps now want to keep it simple…down to earth.

When a fashionable couple recently asked me to tie their wedding flowers with Raffia*…I was like WHOA. Can we break into the world of raffia, and yet avoid the painfully bleak world of sunflowers, blue ducks, country crafts and all else that is associated with 1989? The answer is yes!

Raffia is simple. It is a fiber taken from the underside of the African Raffia Palm tree leaf. Used in flower arrangements it feels natural in way that ribbon could never. It’s understated and fresh feeling to me – it matches all flowers. It eliminates the painful debate over ribbon. It’s quick to biodegrade… not that on your wedding day you need worry about the ecological impact of your bouquet, but if you were looking for a solution to tying up your tomatoes or Clematis, raffia would be perfect. Easily thrown into the compost** pile at the end of the fall…

*My boyfriend really wants me to tell you that Raffia was invented by Raffi the popular children’s entertainer. He may or may not have already added a note to Wikipedia about this. It is FALSE.

**Did you know you can compost at the Added Value Farm in Red Hook? I do, and LOVE it. For more info, call 718-855-5531

CLICK HERE for 6 more images after the jump!


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  • Who would have thunk that raffi would pull itself out of it’s dated time capsule and end up looking so fresh?!?!?!? :) I love it…it gives the flowers a earthy “green” feel!

  • gorgeous arrangements with amazing flowers but the raffia comment about ducks etc silly..obviously it can be separated from that “craft country” association

  • your arrangements are sooo beautiful, like i just die a little when i see them, and i just bought a huge bundle of raffi the other day to use for my hand made flowers, strange!

    • laura

      i think sarah just meant the bouquet. i tried to consider the impact as much as possible for our wedding, but i sort of skipped the flowers since i figured they would mostly break down anyway ;)


  • I love vintage blue mason jars… but raffia, really? Beautiful arrangements, but raffia… I guess it will take time to re-adjust again. *sigh*

  • i was recently in a wedding and it had the same seed pod dealios in the boquets. can anybody tell me what they are called as i want to grow some of my own in my garden!

    oh and raffia! love that sh**! i also use twine or long reed like grasses, but just for decorative purposes as when they dry out they kind of crack.

  • The last photo made my heart skip a beat. I look forward to Weeder’s Digest all week long. I’m going to hunt down some raffia this weekend and try it on an arrangement. Any hints on where to get some?

  • As usual Sarah, your arrangements are unf*%kingbelievable. I wish I lived in Brooklyn, I’d go broke buying your arrangements every week. Know anyone as talented as you are in LA?

  • Oh man, I wonder if I should break out singing, “I was country, when country wasn’t cool.” I didn’t really know that raffia was “out” before now…

    Sarah’s arrangements illustrate perfectly why I love it- for the right arrangements/wedding it is simple, natural, and lovely. Oh, and love the origin of raffia bit– cracked me up.

  • – you can get raffia at Michaels, AC Moore or most craft stores
    – those pods are Poppy Pods, form after the flower has bloomed
    -I love FLOWERWILD in LA
    -An – they are blueberries :)

  • i thought the blue ducks/sunflowers bit was really funny. and now i’m thinking about Sunflowers perfume, by Elizabeth Arden, which we wore in conjunction with floppy canvas hats with fake sunflowers on the center brim a la Blossom.

  • the post and photos are ALWAYS lovely but what I really loved about this post and subsequent comments was the dialogue inspired by the mere mention of raffia! Awesome – so many quasi – neg connotations and too funny. Only provocateurs like sarah and grace could ignite such a fervor over exotic hay! And fyi, raffia for me forever says wordy, sentimental greeting cards from my mother usually about being a woman and clearly penned by a female whose prime-time was spent in the 1970’s. Thx for flowers AND pop culture. Caitlin

  • This post reminded me why I go with my instincts about things I like instead of following trends. I always have raffia around my house, for tying up flowers, gift wrapping, and so on. My mom always used it so I do. I didn’t know it was “out” and I was supposed to be wrapping vases with leaves, which probably looks pretty but sounds like a pain.

    Anyway, these arrangements are beautiful and I also appreciate the Raffi reference. Ring ring ring ring ring ring ring bananaphone…

  • Pretty flowers. I love the table cloth in the second to last photo. I work one afternoon a week in a florist in Canberra, Australia, raffia has been out here for a long while. It hasn’t made it back ‘in’ yet, but I will keep and eye out for it. Organza is all the rage at the moment. I love the blueberries! They are my favourite bit. :-)

  • I laughed out loud when I read this — my mom used to have these ceramic ducks with little raffia bows tied around their necks. So 1989!