Would you like to grow your own wedding flowers? If you do but you’re not sure where to start, read on for my guide to some of the shrubs, flowers and bulbs that would all look beautiful on your big day.
The best time to plant shrubs is either in autumn when the soil is warm or in the spring – the main thing is to make sure that, once planted, you do not let them dry out. Spring flowering bulbs such as, snowdrops, daffodils, narcissi, tulips, hyacinths and muscari (grape hyacinth) should all be planted in the autumn.
There is a fantastic range of flowers you can grow from seed and are just right for that slightly wild ‘just picked from the garden’ look. It’s always fun, and a good plan, to make a visit to a good, local garden centre to see what is actually flowering during the time of year you have chosen to get married.
Beginning with now, springtime, here are just a few of my ideas. All the flowers and foliage pictured are growing in my garden at Woodend.
One of the easiest flowers to grow are hellebores, also known as lenten roses. They come in various gorgeous shades of dark purple, pink, white yellow and even speckled. Hellebores would look beautiful simply on their own in a hand tied bouquet or mixed with white or pink tulips and silver astrantia. Hellebores also make an elegant statement in a simple glass bowl for table arrangements.
In the hand tied bouquet I show here, I have used a mix of hellebores, tulips, narcissus, hyacinths and summer snowflake sitting in a twiggy holder. The stems are tied with ivory ribbon and secured with diamante pins. After all the wedding photos just place the bouquet in a container. Here I have used a tall black glass one to give real impact.
Simple Spring Flowering Bulbs
Bulbs can be used to great effect. I plant up lots of pots of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths in the autumn ready for spring weddings.
There are not a lot of blue flowers to choose from at any time of year, but the hyacinth, together with muscari, offer a very vibrant blue option in the spring. I actually prefer the hyacinths which I grow in the garden to those in pots because they have less flowers on each stem which I like.
My garden hyacinths are flowering now in the middle of March while my potted ones are only just coming out. I like the blue and white ones best, but pink and yellow look good when given a couple of extra years in the garden!
People like the perfume from hyacinths but it is quite strong, and I think they need to be used sparingly. They are really no good at all in foam but okay in water and should be fine (check their stems) for one day in a bouquet.
(out in the spring!) is also a bulb which does not do well in foam because of its fleshy stem, but it is very pretty and looks lovely mixed with other flowers in bouquets and table arrangements.
I will give you some tips in future blogs on the best way to deal with putting ‘awkward’ stems into floral foam.
A true herald of spring, daffodils are difficult to arrange as they don’t like foam and don’t always look good in vases. However, adding stems of Ribes Odoratem, or yellow flowering currant is a lovely idea that shows them to good effect.
If you are determined to use them [ and some of the narcissi such as the white multi-headed varieties have the most lovely perfume ] for your wedding I think one of the prettiest ways is to have them in pots, or incorporate them with other flowers in a vintage metal container or basket.
Here are a couple of my larger pots filled with the lovely small daffodil Tete a Tete. Pots like these make a real statement placed on steps or by a door.
Just coming to their very best in the spring are fabulous camellias. Camellias provide a wonderful splash of colour in shades of red, pale pink, white. Some are double flowers, some single, while others are frilled with another colour – the range is super. Just be aware that they don’t like sun on them in the early morning after a frost as it will turn them brown.
The winter evergreen climbing clematis Armandii, seen here on my pergola, is beautiful used in a trailing bouquet or for decorating arches. It also has a delicate perfume
Speaking of perfume, you will probably know of summer honeysuckle, but what you might not be familiar with is the evergreen winter variety Lonicera Fragrantissima which, although it may look rather an insignificant shrub, has the most delicious fragrance. It is also known as January Jasmine (although it flowers until March or April), Chinese honeysuckle, kiss-me-at-the-gate and sweet breath of spring!!
One of the easiest of shrubs is the very hardy Viburnum Tinus. This one has been flowering in my garden since way before Christmas. The buds are often tinged with pink when at their tightest, turning to white as they open.
Viburnum Tinus lasts well in water or foam, which makes it ideal for décor and table arrangements.
Another of its plus points is that the foliage, although not very exciting, is marvellous for filling in at the back of arrangements and pedestals and acts as a good foil to other flowers.
Flowering Cherries or Prunus
These trees are not something you can grow yourself in a year, but if you, or your friends, are lucky enough to have a big enough tree, the branches of any early prunus look magical just placed on their own in simple metal or glass containers or added on the top of silver birch trunks to make your own cherry trees!
They need a little care as they are delicate and don’t last long, but their beauty makes them worth it. The first cherries come out in March but later in the season, during April and May there will be lots more prunus from which to choose.
There are, of course, many other flowers and shrubs which are available to plant. In my next blogs I’ll explore growing your own foliage and the use of twigs, bark, wood, willow, catkins and contorted hazel, all of which are in the garden at the moment and which will give texture, form and interest to your spring wedding arrangements.
However, I do hope I have given you inspiration as to all the lovely shrubs, bulbs and flowers which you might like to consider growing and which will help to make your spring wedding day go with a swing.