One of the many assets of the small-scale (and not so small) dried arrangement is that with reasonable precautions it can be packed for personal – but never postal – transport. It is quite possible to pack a rather large dried arrangement, or a collection of several small ones, so that they can travel many miles – indeed from one country to another – as long as the package is personally supervised during transit. This applies alike to a single individual gift or sale arrangement or to a collection of assemblies intended for exhibition, either for competition or sale – or for any other purpose. Furthermore, it is possible to arrange for satisfactory transport by rail (and why not by sea or air?) so long as personal despatch and collection is assured and precautionary instructions clearly displayed on the package itself. Responsibility for successful transport lies primarily with the packer, and so long as the intervening journey proves smooth and without too many hazards, there is no reason why manyshould not continue their role in surroundings far from the original habitat.
Experience has shown that it is possible, with the necessary assistance, to transport by car hundreds of very fragile arrangements – of all shapes and forms – from the studio to their destination and, in the case of exhibition, to bring them home again intact.
The following points should be carefully borne in mind – no doubt, in course of experience, others will arise.
Principles of Successful Packing
MODE OF PACKING
This is of the utmost importance. It will be up to the packer to decide whether the arrangement should travel in an upright, or lying, suitably supported, on its back. For arrangements which are cone- or circular-shaped – or indeed, “three-dimensional” in shape – the upright is essential. For all others, no matter how tall, spindly, or delicate, the lying flat position is preferable.
TYPES OF PACKING CASE
Packing cases should be, roughly, of two types:
1. fiat: a strong, flat florist’s box or dress-box, the base suitably reinforced with strengthening strips of flat cardboard, secured by adhesive tape, or sellotape, and with sides which have also been reinforced where necessary; or
2. upright: a deep, rectangular carton, such as used by wine merchants or grocers; a large egg-; a chemists’ packing case; or a large wooden slatted produce-packing basket.
In both instances, the packing case can, if necessary, be suitably re-constructed in shape to meet requirements. This is particularly necessary with very tall arrangements, which should always be packed flat. Here, it may be necessary to use two, or even four, long florists’ boxes, with the edges flattened, to procure the necessary length or width. The whole can be strengthened with extra strips of cardboard, made secure by use of adhesive tape or Sellotape.
The safe transport of a fragile arrangement, particularly one including delicate, arching grasses, and drooping sprays, depends almost wholly on extremely careful padding and support against movement and vibration. It is essential to use the thinnest and least expensive type of tissue paper (the kind that barely crinkles when compressed). Be lavish in its use.
First of all, line the box plentifully throughout with tissue paper, and arrange surplus sheets so as to hang over the outer edges (these will subsequently be folded gently around the arrangement). If packing flat, make a “nest” with smooth tissue paper padding, in which to put the arrangement. A layer of tissue paper should be swathed carefully round the vase to protect any material which hangs over the rim, and the whole arrangement should then be laid on its back in the already prepared “nest”. Next, fill in all side spaces carefully and lightly, with crumpled tissue paper, leaving the top and uppermost end open to view. Fold or roll in the overlapping sheets of tissue round the inside of the edges, and secure with sellotape. Finally, cover the entire top with a light sheet of cellophane or polythene, sufficiently crumpled and loose to allow for it not to squash any protruding grass, fern, or-head. Fix this sheet to the outside of the box or carton with sellotape, thus providing complete protection against wind or rain. Small thin bamboo canes or stout twigs can be attached to the four corners of the carton to support the cellophane.
When packing an arrangement at a sale, for carrying away, persuade the purchasers, if possible, to take away the purchase lying flat in an open box, suitably padded and protected by thin tissue paper.
An alternative method is to surround the arrangement loosely with layers of tissue paper in the form of a circular tent, and clip the paper together, at intervals, with a “Bambi” type stapler, as used by florists. The arrangement should then be carried upright.
It is always advisable to carry a few previously prepared surplus grasses,, and so on, in case of any breakages during transit. Spare reel wire and stub wire, Plasticine, sellotape and scissors should be included as well.