This post has been a long time coming. I wholeheartedly believe in supporting local businesses. And where I can, I will always buy local. From food to furniture. That also means flowers. So how about making sure your wedding flowers are local?
There can be two approaches to this. You can buy from a local grower, or you can grow your own (eeek!). The most wonderful thing about sourcing locally (aside from helping local growers) is the seasonality behind your flowers. You can be sauntering in to town the following summer, smell a waft of sweet peas and be transported straight back to your wedding day. That won’t happen with roses flown in from far off lands.
If you buy from a local grower you are also helping the wildlife around you. Georgie at Common Farm Flowers is a shining example of this. They plant native hedgerows, grow wild-flowers from seeds in order to increase butterfly population. They keep honey bees, they mow insect motorways through the long grass, dig dew ponds for dragonflies and leave debris for grass snakes to rest in during winter. Perfect hey?
Getting a florist of this calibre to do your wedding flowers means not only will they be beautiful and seasonal, they come with a low-carbon footprint and they have nurtured the wild life on your doorstep.
BUT, if you fancy it, you can grow you own. Georgie has given her advice below.
Grow your own wedding flowers.
I’m a flower farmer and florist based in Somerset and I often have brides or their mothers ask me what they could grow themselves to keep the costs of their day down. They want to give their celebration a less formal, less hothouse, less preserved look than you sometimes get with roses that have been flown in from Kenya, or other flowers whose journeys have been such that they’re only alive now thanks to the preserving fluids they’ve been fed/sprayed with.
My faves to grow:
Sweet peas – plant October or February. Best for weddings: Mollie Rillestone, Betty Maiden, Royal Wedding.
Larkspur – will over winter from September sowings, but like sweet peas you can plant in spring too.
Cosmos – will give you great clouds of flowers from July onwards and also fill in any worrying gaps you may have in your flower beds if you’re having your wedding reception at home.
Dahlias – for a late summer wedding the dahlia is dreamy. They come in so many shapes and colours you could spend as much time choosing which you’ll grow as you do picking out your dress. Watch out for the slug though when they’re sprouting, and the earwig when they’re in flower – and if you’re cutting for an arrangement there might be bumble bees who like to snuggle down deep in the flower heads over night so that their heads are in their breakfast when the sun warms them up in the morning.
Tip for cutting: Early in the morning or late evening, cut flowers, strip foliage, and put straight into tall, scrupulously clean buckets of water. A drop of bleach or white vinegar will keep the flower killing bacteria at bay. Never cut in the heat of the day.
Tip for tying posies: Once you’ve made your posies, since your flowers won’t be stuffed full of preserving fluid, bind them with ribbon etc and then let them have an inch of water in the bottom of a jam-jar which you can squeeze out at the last minute.
If you’re growing your wedding flowers but are worried about time, then do ask a friend or an experienced florist to make the bride’s bouquet and the bridesmaids’ and the buttonholes – these really need to be done on the day and you might have hair dressers to visit, last minute crises to resolve etc, and the last thing you need on the day of the wedding is to be stressed about flowers.
Good luck! And Happy Planting
Georgie Newbery runs www.commonfarmflowers.com in Somerset. See her website for freshly cut English flowers by post, weddings, workshops – her next grow your own wedding flowers workshop is scheduled for Sat 13th October and costs £65 per person including lunch. Have a look at her website and browse through the images of her flaars. I promise you will want to source locally grown, seasonal flowers for your day.
You can find your nearest local grower here. So what do you think? I know that it obviously suits a certain type of wedding and a certain type of bride. But if you only eat British beef, surely you should only carry British flowers?