Updated: Aug 7
Welcome to Part 2 of 'Grow Your Own Wedding Flowers And Greenery'.
If you've already had the chance to read Part 1, and you have been inspired to go out into your own garden to see what you might be able to use, I hope you were pleasantly surprised and motivated to use something from there.
IN THE BEGINNING
As I said in Part 1, When I set out to tame the front garden I was only concerned with putting plants in there which met certain criteria such as; they needed to be attractive, hardy, evergreen, not too invasive, could survive in a garden which was void of sun for a good part of the day and didn't require too much care and attention.
As with any inherited garden, there are some flowers in mine that I probably would not have planted, but I have to say I love every plant, even the adopted ones.
Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers And Greenery - Part 2 is focusing on mainly flowering plants.
If you have a lot of leafy plants in your garden then I would suggest that you also read Grow Your Own Wedding flowers Part 1.
On hearing that a friend of mine was digging up some of this lovely plant from her garden I asked if she could let me have a handful. They have been colonising my front garden ever since. My Crocosmia is not yet in flower, above is an image from the Internet.
Their striking, slender grass-like green leaves start making their appearance from Winter slumber in the Spring. Later in the Summer long slim flower stems will start to emerge and eventually expose clusters of small bright orange flowers.
After the flowers, come the seeds which are also attractive.
The uses for this flower are two-fold since both the flowers and the seed pods can be used in bouquets and floral arrangements. The flowers would be ideal for a Summer wedding, and the seed pods which come later would work well in an Autumn or Winter display.
If you don't want this plant to fill every space in your garden the best advice I can give is to dig up some of the bulbs(corms) once the flowers and seed pods are past their best every year. Why not make some one else happy and gift them.
Updated - My Crocosmia has now flowered - See image above - 4th August 2020
If you have a Deutzia in your garden then I'm sure you'll agree with me that both the foliage and the flowers are quite beautiful.
If allowed adequate space it will reward you with copious clusters of flowers along it's elegant arching branches. The one in my garden has survived against all odds. It is placed in a very cramped position fighting for space with rose bushes, Bergenia and Alchemilla.
It doesn't ask for much, but I will re plant it in a more spacious area when it has stopped flowering. I'm contemplating placing it in a container pot where it will have more space to spread and produce more flowers. Be aware this plant is not an all year round hardy evergreen.
I plan to use some of the blooms and foliage in a low floral arrangement. If successful, I will update this page with an image.
If you look closely at the image above you'll see more than one type of ivy. I placed 2 or 3 different kinds of Ivy plant in a clay pot a couple of years ago and left it to do whatever it wants. That is until some may be needed for a wedding. Most of the Ivy in the pots is variegated because it is my preference. Although there is a small amount of green also since I have to cater for not just myself, but more importantly for my brides. Ivy is available all year round.
The trailing habit of Ivy makes it suitable for use in both cascade wedding bouquets, and tall centrepieces where their slender stems can be manipulated into position with ease. They can also be used as interesting foliage in a Groom's buttonhole or corsage.
In the image above you will see the English Lavender in my front garden. It is another plant that just keeps giving and giving. If you have this in your garden, then you will be aware that the bees love, love, love lavender, and that is the reason I have it in my garden; well that and the fact that I can run my fingers gently through the lavender and catch it's sweet aroma whenever I walk near it.
It's very easy to care for all year round, just leave it alone. It doesn't require any pampering at all. However , what you will need to do around the beginning of Spring is to cut it back to the smallest piece of greenery at the end of each branch. The pruning will kick it into action, and I can almost guarantee you an abundance of those beautiful purple flowers a few weeks later every year.
Works well in brides bouquets, boutonnieres and centrepieces.
Don't let your lavender go to waste. If you cut the stems of lavender before the buds open. Gather them all into manageable bunches, and hold them together with a rubber band. Hang them upside down in a cool dark room. within 2 weeks you will be able to use your freshly dried lavender.
Lavender will take over your garden if you allow it to, therefore I would think long and hard about where you will plant it. Preferably somewhere with plenty of space.
This is not a picture of the French Lavender in my front garden, because right now it is not looking its best for 3 main reasons. Firstly I chopped it back very hard because it was growing too far into the garden. Secondly, it had become very woody. I've had it a few years now, so it may be the time to take a cutting and start again. Thirdly, for the first time in all of the years I have possessed lavender plants there is a very beautiful green beetle (Rosemary Beetle) that has taken a shine to this particular plant, which I'm not happy about at all. Right now when I see them, I remove them. I feel like I maybe fighting a losing battle, but I'm trying. Much as I like wild life, I really do prefer just the bees to take their share of what they want since they give back by pollinating and don't annihilate my plants while doing it.
Above is an image of my French Lavender taken several weeks ago, before the Rosemary Beetles started nibbling away at the flowers.
see English Lavender.
I inherited this Hydrangea when I moved here. This plant has flowered every year bar one. I believe it may have been when I allowed someone to tidy the garden for me. Big mistake, they tidied it so much that several plants were lost; a beautiful little Fuchsia and an Osteospermum which had spoon shaped petals.
The Hydrangea has done something this year that it has never done before, which is to produce more than double the amount of flowers. Also strangely enough the flowers seem to be half the size.
There are two things that I do each year to maintain this beautiful shrub. Firstly, I remove any dried dead twigs. Secondly, the old flowers are snipped off only when the new flower buds are well formed.
Updated 14th July, 2020
I couldn't resist snipping off some of the pink Hydrangea to create a display.
In the image are pink Hydrangeas, Dusty Miller, variegated Hebe, Viburnum, Spindle Tree Euonymous, Hypericum berries, Eonymous (Blondy).
Again, nothing was purchased, everything was picked from the garden.
I forgot about this white Hydrangea when I started writing this blog. As if in protest this lovely white mop head flower poked its head through the rickety picket fence, barely inches above the footpath, and commenced to bloom.
It is squashed between the Crocosmia, pink Hydrangea, Bergenia and Lacecap Hydrangeas. Suffice it to say, it doesn't need any pampering at all. Though I would suggest removing any old wood in spring.
I love to use the Hydrangea for both high and low table centrepieces. The wonderful thing about these flowers is that they can be used while fresh and even as a dried flower when they take on a darker autumnal colour.
Edited Monday 13th July, 2020
I had the opportunity to create some fresh flower wedding displays this weekend.
The Hydrangea and greenery was sourced freshly from the garden.
(The roses in the first image are faux flowers)
This Hydrangea came with the house. There are two in the garden. When I first saw it flower, I thought there was something wrong with it. I was expecting it to be the same as the mop head variety.
They don't need any special care. Treat them the same way that you would the mop heads except for other thing, and that is to keep an eye on their water needs. I nearly lost them during a dry spell a couple of years ago. They died back a lot. I chopped them down to within an inch of their life. After two years they are looking a lot better.
Don't allow this plant to go too long without water. You will know when it's in need just by looking at it.
The different textures of this lovely large flower would allow you to create a lovely low floral centrepiece, or big vase floral arrangement.
This ivory rose bush gets a good pruning each year. It is one of the plants which inherited when I bought the house. If it is dead headed often it will flower and flower just about all year round. At one point this month it was covered in so many roses from a distance you might have thought that it was covered in snow.
These roses have been used for tables centrepieces and boutonnieres.
RAMBLING ROSE ORANGE
To me it's just like Christmas has come early when this rose bush comes into flower. This rose bush is beautiful. It's branches are intertwined with a large Hebe and come what may every year without fail It yields such a prolific amount of these gorgeous bright orange flowers. The only downfall is that the flowers really don't handle the wind very well, and that blanket of orange flowers can soon disappear overnight in stormy, wet weather. After 3 to 4 weeks that's it until next year. The best time to use these roses is while they are still in bud, because once they are opened their vase life is much too short.
I've made several wedding boutonnieres with this flower. The burnt orange buds are a lot darker than the flower when it is fully opened.
This garden rose just climbs and climbs up the side of the house. I don't do much with it at all. The more it is cut back, the more it gives. This year I thought it would never recover, since at least 3 quarters or more was removed from it. So much was cut away, that as I was gathering all the debris I felt quite remorseful. As you will observe from the image above there was no need to worry. The flowers are bigger than saucers when fully opened and are absolutely beautiful specimens. This plant will flower all year.
Use them in single stem vases. They would look brilliant in a large urn combined with lots of ivy and other greenery.
I Love this powder pink rose. Not only is it incredibly beautiful, it smells as good as it looks. For some reason the aphids seem to prefer this rose bush more than all the others in the front garden as well. Arm yourself with a little spray bottle of a 1:1 mixture of washing up liquid and water if like me, you don't like to use any pesticides. It seems to do the trick. It's just like the other roses in that it requires very little care apart from regular dead heading, and a good prune once a year.
They work well in a bouquet, and floral display, and the buds will make a nice boutonniere.
This pretty little, lemony yellow rose has produced a lot of flowers this year thus far. I've made a concerted effort to dead head it as often as I can. It grows mainly among the Hebe and Verbena and I honestly do not understand how it survives. If you deep dead heading, it will reward you with more flowers.
The buds from this plant make a beautiful boutonniere.
This richly coloured, dark red rose is another plant inherited with the house. There's been a lot of wind and rain recently, hence the battle scarred specimen in the image above. It's only a small bush, and the flowers are quite large in comparison when fully opened. I never cut them. I prefer to admire them from afar. For some time, it went un-noticed in the garden until a new neighbour knocked on my door and asked for a cutting from it. It was engulfed by the Viburnum for some years. So I can say that it will withstand a lot, and doesn't need much care at all, though a person qualified in the care of roses may beg to differ.
If you have one of these rose bushes in your garden, and you're not as sentimental as me you should include the flowers in your floral displays. They'll add such a richness to an Autumn or Winter brides bouquet., especially if paired with some deep red hypericum berries.
In the image above is a White Hydrangea centrepiece using Viburnum foliage and Alchemilla flowers.
The Viburnum came with the house. If you have one of these in your garden, then count yourself blessed. It's a good all rounder, with lovely white flowers, pretty dark purple berries and luscious foliage. They can grow quite large, so keep on top of the pruning. I do absolutely nothing to maintain it apart from give it a trim, which is usually once a year. This year it is actually taller than ever. I armed myself with garden shears and started to give it the annual cut only to find a blackbird family nesting within, plus a myriad noisy, gregarious sparrows. It is tall and looks unkempt. The birds love it, the neighbour doesn't.
I will attempt to finish the job I started sometime in August by which time the birds should have vacated their summer home.
USES: I use the Viburnum foliage as a substitute for Israeli Ruscus. The mature leaves are a nice dark green. As a rule I like to use the new growth at this time of the year. The leaves are a much fresher coloured green, which is what I prefer.
Good for use in bouquets and centrepieces.
If your Viburnum produces attractive blooms, then you could consider using them in your flower arrangements. Mine unfortunately doesn't, whihc is why only ever use the foliage.
I hope reading this blog has inspired you to take a look in every corner of your garden.
It would be lovely to hear from you.
Let me know if you found anything that you may be planning on including in your DIY wedding bouquet.
There will be a Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers And Greenery - Part 3. Why? Because there are still plants in my little garden that haven't been given a mention yet.
It will most likely be focusing mainly on herbs.
HAPPY WEDDING PLANNING!