Wedding Flowers

Beautiful summer roses


red david austin roses carolyn parkerPink rose bouquet and archgertrude jekyll rose carlyn parkerbeautiful peach wedding bouquetBride with wedding bouquet. Pink roses and astrantias.
Ooh, I love rose time. My Souvenir de mme Leonie Viennot literally smothers my picket fence at the front of my house at this time of the year. In fact, I’ll have to cut it back quite a bit this season because it’s actually pushing the fence over! The rose has been there for years (I planted it when I first got here) and it flowers freely each year for most of the year, with its peak in November (late spring) and early December, depending on the weather. But there is always a good smattering of roses after a good dollop of rain at any time of the year.

Another favourite is Gertrude Jekyll (third image from top, by Carolyn Parker), though the David Austin reds are also divine (top image, also by Carolyn Parker). Pictured are Tradescant, in the centre, Falstaff above that, and The Prince below.

I enjoy mixing rose colours too, as in these wedding bouquets.

Make sure you keep your roses well watered this summer. A parched rose will attract bugs and make it more susceptible, in its weakened state, to disease.

A show of ranunculus


ranunculus-deep-burgundy
ranunculus-whiteranunculus-pink-salmon

Did you plant ranunculus this year? They may well be flowering now, depending on when you planted them; if not, they will be soon.

For inspiration, look at this gorgeous bouquet with deep burgundy-wine ranunculus (top) created by Sarah Winward and photographed by Kate Osborne, two very talented ladies.

Plant Now: Sage, Rosemary & Thyme


sage-gnochisage-lavender-bouquetrosemary-jarsthyme-tea-tree-bouquet
Missing your fresh, summer annual herbs? No problem. Plant some winter-hardy perennial stalwarts instead. Thyme, sage and rosemary are all tough herbs that will survive the winter gloom. And they’re not only delicious sprinkled onto winter roast meats or as the star ingredient in recipes such as sage gnocchi (make your favourite parmesan gnocchi recipe and add copious amounts of chopped sage – yum!), they look fab in a vase too. And they’re medicinal!

The gorgeous bouquet immediately above (fourth from the top) features thyme, rosemary, lavender and Geraldton wax flower, among other flowers, but it’s the herbs that give it its delicious perfume. The second image from the top features sage and lavender, and the third photo has sprigs of rosemary. Pick herbs and mingle them with flowers for an aromatic display indoors.

Medicinally, thyme and sage are excellent herbs to have on hand for combating colds. Both have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help soothe sore throats. A simple herb tea can be drunk throughout the day or gargled with at the first sign of a sore throat. Infuse a handful of fresh sage and/or thyme leaves in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. (Note: sage should not be taken if pregnant or breast-feeding.)

Or make a thyme syrup.

  • Steep ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves in 300ml boiled water, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain out the leaves and add ¼ cup honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Store in the fridge and keep no longer than a week.
  • For children 1 year or older, give 1-2 teaspoons every 2-3 hours. Teens and adults can take 1-2 tablespoons at a time.

Growing thyme
Thyme likes a sunny spot in free-draining soil. It doesn’t like wet feet, so add pumice or horticultural grit to improve drainage if required. If planting in pots, use a potting mix that’s low in nutrients. Rich soil encourages softer growth and diminishes flavour. Plants in the garden also have low fertiliser requirements. Drought and cold hardy.

Growing sage
Sage likes full sun and a limey soil (add some lime to your soil if necessary) that’s on the dry side. Soil does not need to be highly fertile. This plant is drought and frost resistant.

Photo credit: Second photo from top is from Real Maine Weddings.

Gold and magenta bouquet


gold-and-magenta-bouquet1
gold-and-magenta-bouquet2

If you’re looking to have a gold theme for your wedding or celebration (a golden anniversary, perhaps), consider spray-painting your foliage gold. Back in the days when I completed my florist’s course we spent a session spraying foliage and seed heads gold and silver. It lasts exceptionally well, and looks beautiful complemented with a sparkling gold ribbon covering the base of the stems. The gold here pairs beautifully with magenta calla lilies.

Colourful wedding bouquet


colourful-bouquet2colourful-wedding-bouquet1colourful-wedding-bouquet3

Isn’t this bouquet stunning? I love the multi-coloured flowers and the multi-coloured ribbons. I also love the two feathers protruding at the top. They just add another dimension to the bouquet.

Here, we have orange ranunculus, purple lisianthus (darn hard to grow), red leucospermum and gloriosa lily.

And then there’s good old eucalyptus. At the moment, eucalyptus is one of my favourite foliage fillers, though if you want to grow your own trees, you need a bit of space.

 

Try a trollius


trollius2
trollius3trollius1

Here’s something different to try: the globeflower, or trollius. This perennial plant likes moist conditions and part-shade, and shows its vibrant-coloured blooms in late spring and early summer. It’s a great cut flower – just look at these! – and it’s one of the few cut flowers that will grow in shade (they’ll grow in sun too). Pick the flowers when they are just starting to open.

Make sure you position your plants in soil that won’t dry out over summer. Add plenty of compost before planting to maintain moisture levels. Having said that, you don’t want them to be sitting in water over winter, or you might kill them, so choose your spot carefully.

Plant Now: Sweet peas


Purple sweetpeas
Bouquet of sweet peassweet peas in vase

If you haven’t already, you should get your sweet peas in now. You don’t have to mollycoddle them – you can sow the seeds directly in the ground. Or sow them in peat pots and plant the whole pot in the soil when the seedlings are 5-8cm (2-3 inches) tall. They are hardy annuals and tolerant of low temperatures. In fact, high light levels in winter combined with cool temperatures are perfect for sweet pea growing. Plant in a spot that gets good sun; low light levels will result in smaller and fewer flowers.

The plants are vines, so they will climb trellises, fences, or even string, and produce more shoots with flowers as they do. When the plants get around 15cm (6 inches) high, tie the shoots to their growing frame.

Watch out for snails and slugs – you may need to use a bait.

When it comes to harvesting, pick your sweat peas when 2-3 flowers start to show some colour.

Image credits: Top photo (which includes sweet peas and stock) via Mod Wedding; middle photo via Love ‘n Fresh Flowers; bottom photo via Sussi’s Sussinghurst.

Plant Now: Sea Holly


eryngium-2
eryngium-bouquetEryngium-planum

Sea holly (Eryngium planum) is a head turner, with its steely blue pincushion-like flower heads perched atop 80-120cm high stems. The blooms appear from around midsummer to late autumn and are long-lasting as a cut flower (fresh or dried), with fresh blooms lasting 10-12 days in the vase.

Eyrngiums are clump-forming perennials that thrive in full sun. They won’t tolerate any hint of waterlogging, so make sure your soil is free-draining. They’ll grow in most types of soil, including dry, sandy and poor soils, though plants may sprawl if the soil is overly fertile.

Look for plants at your local garden centre.

Image credits: Top image is by Richard Loader; middle image is via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings.

How are your sunflowers doing?

purple-sunflowerpurple-echinacea

I was too late planting my sunflowers this year, but next year I plan to be on time. I’ve written it in my diary. And I really want to plant something like this. Unfortunately, these images were taken overseas. We used to be able to get colours like this here, but I’m not sure they’re readily available any more.

The sunflower at the top is something like ‘Ms Mars’ or ‘Strawberry Blonde’ though the one shown here looks a little more purple.

The echinaceas in the bottom image look stunning too – though I don’t know what this variety is either.

I have purple flower envy right now.

Spring gorgeousness


spring-bouquet

I’m absolutely loving this bouquet by Cathy Martin Flowers. It’s topped with hellebores, jasmine, sweet peas and tuberose. Divine.

Image via The Swish List.