If you were to list the top 5 elements you couldn’t do without on your wedding day, we think the flowers would be up there. The importance of the bride’s bouquet goes without saying, but don’t forget the bridesmaids posies, groomsmen’s buttonholes, flowergirl petals, venue decorations and even “thank you” flowers.
All of this mounts up to what can be a huge chunk of your wedding budget. Rather than go without or scrimp on the quality, have you ever considered DIY flowers? There are many British growers out there who are offering this kind of service. Basically, you can either pop out to a flower farm and cut your own (just think of summer strawberry picking farms but with flowers instead) or they will pick them for you and send them out for you to arrange yourself. This reduces the cost to you tremendously, and with a few creative friends and family the night before the big day you could have beautifully rustic jam jar posies galore adourning your venue.
We are going one step further and helping a good friend to grow her own wedding flowers for August 2015. Provided you have the space and time there is no reason why you too couldn’t give it a go. We will provide regular blog updates here on our progress, alongwith tips for each month as to what you should be doing. The key to success is research and planning.
This winter we will be ordering old English roses that should arrive in December as bare root stock. We have already ordered dahlia tubers that will be delivered in February for planting after the risk of frost has passed.
You may think thing that all the sowing and planting would be done in Spring, but actually we have already started planting and sowing seeds this year. Plant biennials in the late summer in the year before you need them, this tricks the plant into flowering in its first full summer. We’ve planted up foxgloves in this manner, but you can also try sweet William and astrantia too. Hardy annuals directly sown into flowerbeds in Sept/Oct time establish themselves now and create healthy, strong plants come Spring. Go for things like delphinium, cornflower, calendula and ammi majus to name but a few. We also use our delphinium crop for our real flower petal confetti which you could try as well if you manage to grow enough.
What you plant now should flower nice and early in the season. You want as long a cutting season as possible, so plant the same things again as well as your half-hardy annuals come Spring and these will flower later thus giving you a long growing window.
Of course there are bulbs galore to choose from too and most of these will need planting in the winter before you need them. We’ve selected ranunculus for their beautiful peony-like flowers and freesias (athough these won’t be planted until next year after the frost risk has passed) for their fantastic scent.
The most important thing is to give it a go, experiment and have fun. We are lucky in that our bride is nice and relaxed and the whole wedding will have a chilled out village fete vibe. Yes we feel the pressure to produce something beautiful, but with so many fantastic growers out there, there’s always a fallback!
Please check back regularly to see our progress. Do also check out some where we got some of our seed from; the lovely Higgeldy Garden www.higgledygarden.com and fabulous Sarah Raven www.sarahraven.com who both offer great choice and advice.