Wedding Flowers

Spring gorgeousness


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.

Plant Now: Statice

Ordinarily I’m no fan of statice (Limonium), but in certain circumstances this papery flower can look quite classy. Here, in both these bouquets, they stand out, in the top bouquet with its blooms grouped in vibrant hues, and in the second bouquet because the buds stand in a loose and airy fashion above the rest of the flowers. In the bottom image, again, the closed flowers provide a beautiful, airy table display.

There are two types of statice. The top two images feature the annual statice (Limonium sinuatum) and the bottom two images showcase the perennial statice (Limonium latifolium). The latter, also called sea lavender, grows well in sandy, salty and windy conditions, producing a cloud of small lavender blooms on stems up to 90cm high. The annual statice is the one we see most often in garden centres (and all seed companies sell this one), and it’s a cinch to grow. Flowers can be displayed fresh or dry.

Seeds for the perennial statice are available from Kings Seeds.

Image credits: the top image is via Tumblr; the second image from the bottom is from The Flower Lab; the bottom image is from Wedding Chicks.

Beautiful centrepiece


I love this arrangement. It’s so beautifully soft and feminine. And it incorporates some of my favourite blooms, including moth orchids (phalaenopsis) and Japanese anemones.

I feel a little bad though. I copied this image a while back and now I can’t remember where I took it from. Eek. Sorry if it’s yours. If it’s any consolation, I think it’s beautiful!

Plant Now: Astilbes


If you find astilbes in your garden centre, plant some now. They are superb cut flowers with fluffy plumes in pink (as seen here), white, red or mauve. They’ll grow in sun or shade, with plumes appearing in spring and summer. They do best in cool summers, which is why you see more of them down south. In all cases, though, they like plenty of moisture.

If you prefer to grow by seed, you can get them from Kings Seeds and Egmont Seeds.

In this bouquet you can also see red peonies, red roses, white dahlias and the red berries of hypericum.

Romantic anemones and roses


I luuurrrrve this bouquet by Joy Proctor. It’s so very pretty with the burgundy anemones and deep red cabbage roses. It’s tied together with black berries, sweet peas and lovely mid-green foliage. Gorgeous!

See more of this moody design that was created for a film photography workshop over at Style Me Pretty.

Plant Now: Hellebores

Hellebores are a real treat in the winter garden, especially since more and more of the new varieties are arriving with beautiful pink or deep purple coats – my favourites. I love them all, though. They look dainty, but they’re hardy, and they’re easy to grow and care for.

Hellebores don’t like direct sunlight, so select a planting location that receives filtered sunlight most of the day. Under the canopy of a deciduous tree or shrub is an ideal location. Don’t give them too much shade though. While they are certainly shade lovers, most do better with some sun (not full sun).

Hellebores need well draining soil that is rich in organic matter, much like that found on a forest floor.

Sadly, hellebores don’t last very long in the vase because once cut, the stems don’t take up water. Not naturally, in any case. You can force them to do so though (do this within an hour of picking). Heat a saucepan of water with floral preservative dissolved in it to 70 degrees C (use a candy thermometer). Recut the stems and immediately dip the ends into the water. Hold them on a slant so that the flower heads are held out of the way of the steam. Keep them in the water for 20 seconds. Remove the stems and place them in a bucket of cold water. This shocks them into taking up the hot water with the preservative. You will get an extra 3-5 days vase life from your hellebores, but you can only do this once.

The image at the top comes from Love ‘n Fresh Flowers and includes bearded irises, ranunculi, tulips and hellebore seed heads. A beautiful bouquet for a spring wedding.

Plant Now: Sweet peas


Have you planted your sweet peas yet? You still can. Even though they are typically sown in autumn, here in NZ we can plant them throughout winter and even early spring (best in cooler areas).

We’re spoilt for choice with the colours available, but I’m loving the pinks and purples. I especially love the picotee varieties – those flowers whose edges are a different colour than the flower’s base colour, like the purple sweet peas in the top image.

Find a sunny spot in your garden that has humus-rich, well-drained soil, and sow seeds directly, or plant seedlings from the garden centre.

You can sow your seeds in small pots to transplant later if you prefer, but leave the containers outdoors, not in a greenhouse. Sweet peas germinate at low temperatures; strong plants result if grown in high light and cool conditions. Spindly, sprawling ones often result if grown in a greenhouse.

Photo credits: Top image is from WedLuxe; Middle image is from All Things Girly & Beautiful; Bottom image is from Love My Dress.

Plant Now: Pieris japonica

Lily of the valley bush (Pieris japonica) is an evergreen shrub, which grows best in part shade. In spring and early summer, masses of white or pink bell-shaped flowers appear on 10-15cm long racemes. The pink buds, which show all through winter, are attractive too. Head to your local garden centre and pick one up now, so you can enjoy the buds and later the flowers in the next few months.

Plant in moderately moist but free-draining soil that’s slightly acidic.

Top two images from Flirty Fleurs

Plant Now: Daffodils

daffodils yellow dress
Have you planted your daffodils yet? Now’s the time to do so. Late autumn, when the soil starts to cool down, is the ideal time to get daffodil bulbs in the ground.

When choosing bulbs, big is best. Smaller bulbs may not flower the first season. The bulbs should be clean and free from any blemishes, or you may find they’ll do nothing but rot. Feel them to ensure there are no soft spots.

In warmer areas place them in the fridge for a few weeks before planting to ensure bud initiation.

Plant bulbs in free-draining soil in sun. If the ground is too wet, particularly during summer when the soil is warm, bulbs may rot. Plant daffodils so the base of the bulb is about 15cm below the soil surface, or in light soils 20cm deep.

Daffodils are not heavy feeders. Fork in some bulb food before planting, then once again as the leaves begin to emerge – and that’s it until the flowers die down. After flowering, the bulbs begin to store food for the following season, so this is the most important time to feed and water.

Top image is from Bridal Musings; Image second from bottom is from Lock Cottage Flowers.

Spring anemones

If you haven’t already, you can get your winter/spring anemones planted now. Gosh, I love these plants. They are one of my absolute favourite flowers, and year after year they give me loads and loads of pretty blooms – all from such tiny, ugly bulbs (actually corms). They continue to flower for two to three months (sometimes longer), and last for about seven days in the vase.

To break dormancy and encourage germination and good flower production, place corms in the fridge prior to planting (six weeks). Then soak for a few hours in tepid water before planting out in full sun in compost-enriched soil. The bulb packet should indicate how to plant them, but for the record, plant anemones with the corms pointy side down.

These bulbs are gluttons for food. Feed with a general purpose fertiliser once a month and keep well watered. They will continue to flower if you do this, so you will have lots of blooms to pick for indoors. The corms do sometimes produce flowers the following year, but it’s best to plant fresh ones each year.

Corms are in shops now, or look to specialist mailorder nurseries such as NZ Bulbs.