And it was glorious.
When LEGO broke news of the Botanical Collection in 2020, I wasn’t among those that was particularly interested. You see, I was trying my best to contain my Lego love from a buying frenzy by sticking only to certain series – LOTR, modulars, trains and the occasional detour into special pieces.
But then the visuals broke me.
Pitched at older fans from 18 and above, the collection was described by LEGO as “a new range of mindful models for the green-fingered.”
And what timing! Not only was pandemic restrictions keeping more people home and focusing on indoor activities, the massive green trend that was taking over social media feeds meant these sets were on an arrow’s path to success.
And so far, it has proven to be so. Sets in Singapore were promptly sold out on the day of the launch, with online alternatives being either the same, or priced at 20 – 50% more than recommended retail. I was lucky enough to procure three sets via Shopee, but a recent post from Lego’s Instagram indicates that many countries still report a lack of stock.
So why three, you ask? And why the bouquets over the bonsai?
My personal aesthetics actually point more towards the zen Bonsai Tree. But although I found the build pleasing to look at, I found it potentially less engaging after completion. As a hobbyist florist, I felt the bouquet would give me more play with arrangement options, and so the idea of creating a bigger bouquet came to mind.
This was the result:
I was pleasantly surprised by how big one bouquet was, so the three bouquets worked well to fill up this Muji rattan basket I had at home. And even though I was pretty sure I would have extra pieces, the three sets had the right formula of flowers and foliage for this arrangement. I had just the right amount to include depth and “stragglers”.
To touch on the build experience, I would say the Flower Bouqet set gives great value. Although the bonsai set has 878 pieces to the bouquet’s 756, the bonsai’s boost in number comes from frog pieces that emulate sakuras in an alternative look while the full 756 from the bouquet are on full display. Also, both sets when comparing their price point of $79.90 to other similarly number pieces, were considered very reasonable in my opinion.
What I enjoyed the most was seeing how the angular and stiff bricks came to realise the soft forms of flowers. The transformation was fascinating to see come to life. Even the build itself was organic, where petals and leaves actually have some wiggle room to allow for customisation. Fancy a sparser look? Take out some petals and leaves. Want the petals to look slightly different? Snap them on unevenly on their base.
The reticulation provided by the design also allows for you to adjust petal or flower positions – something particularly useful when I was working on the arrangement. Also helpful was the way a couple of stems sported a curve near the head to simulate the natural bend of real flowers. No doubt these decision came not just the team, but the also the eye of LEGO apprentice Astrid Sundorf Christensen who informally worked on bouquets for the LEGO office and was roped in for her expertise.
The colours here are perfectly calibrated. It had the vibrancy without looking like a child’s toy, and the palette was both romantic and cheerful at the same time, making it suitable for almost any type of household.
If there’s one thing to note, the set does involve fairly repetitive steps at parts – the lavender for example, had 54 florets. Given that I was creating three sets, there were times I was purely in machine mode. That said, the designers separated the flowers very thoughtfully, letting you slowly step up the repetitive action from Bag 1 to Bag 3, and pacing you with simpler builds in between.
I personally enjoyed the poppy the most. It was the simplest to build, but therein is the elegance in its design, where only a few pieces managed to create something unexpected from the right combination. The pop of orange was also welcomed, balancing the feminine pinks and purples.
The LEGO Botanical Collection includes a number of elements made from plant-based plastic, produced using sustainably sourced sugarcane. It is a wonderful step towards a more sustainable future, and a future where this will be the case for all bricks would be my hope. This element also ties in beautifully with the idea of this collection, and I am really please with how the Botanical Collection has been created, from intent to build journey to finished product.
With the Chinese New Year upon us, the arrangement was the dramatic centerpiece for the season. It was a joy to build and a challenge to arrange, but within that, it taught me to appreciate even more thoughtful details of the collection.
For both fans and newbies alike, this is a well-rounded set to include, and I hope stocks are topped up soon in your country.
For more of my thoughts, you can also watch my stories on my Instagram highlights.