Friday, July 8, 2016

What Every Bride Should Know About Choosing Local Flowers

My sweet husband and I will celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary this year ( I still can't believe it's been that long). Every time I meet with a new wedding client I can't help but be transported back to our wedding day and all the planning we did to create a special day for ourselves and our guests. We chose a small country venue for our old-fashioned Vintage Victorian theme ( who knew we were ahead of the trend by about 25 years? ) If I was wearing a flower crown instead of a wide brimmed hat I just might pass for a modern vintage bride today. The roses for my bouquet were local ( but most likely not in season in September) but I do recall having simple small wild flower arrangements on the banquet tables.

Happily Married me! (circa 1991)
 The 2016 Wedding season is here and locally sourced wedding flowers are more popular than ever before. Whether you're going the DIY rt.or having your flowers designed by a farmer/florist there are a few things you should know about choosing local flowers for your wedding day.  

  • I  recommend an in-person or at a minimum a phone consultation to find out what kind of farm/garden or other local sources your flowers will be coming from. This is also the best time for the farmer/florist to get to know you and find out about your venue, wedding theme, the types of flowers you would like as well as any personal details in the wedding flowers you wish to include. 

  • Local and seasonal flowers aren't always cheaper than imports. When comparing costs, remember that your local farmer/florist has been married ( so to speak) to your flowers since the day they placed their first corm/seed and tuber order for the season. From that moment on they are committed to bringing you fresh, lush and vibrant blooms for your special day. Local flowers are almost always 100% sustainably grown and have been given lots of TLC before they come to you, so they come with love and beauty.

  •  Seasonal flowers means, just that, seasonal. June, July, August and September are brimming with beautiful blooms so be sure to ask your farmer/florist what will be blooming the week of your wedding. Some may have pinterest boards, and/or websites with lists of the flowers they offer each month.

  • It's always a good idea to visit the farm or garden where your flowers are coming from. I love to have couples over to see the flowers. This is a good time to bring any vases, ribbons, trays, etc that will be incorporated into any design work your florist will be doing for you. 

  • If you're working with a local florist and want to use local flowers, just ask. It's possible they have a network of local flower farmers to source seasonal flowers from. 

  • Some farmer/florists also deliver and set up a venue, others do not. Expect a delivery and set up fee to be added on to the cost of the flowers.  Be sure to iron out those details from the very beginning. You don't want any extra stress tacked on to your wedding day. If the grower is also your designer, expect a design fee to be added to the cost of the flowers. 

  • Local flowers can also mean plants, trees and flowers from your local garden shop. Some nurseries offer design services which can be a great fit for romantic garden themed bridal showers and weddings.
 Find local flower farmers, florists, and designers, on the Slow Flowers Directory Website.

As always, thanks for reading! 

I wish you a wonderful gardening ( and Wedding ) season. 

Only ' natural ' green gasses were used to drive us to our reception hall.

Put down some roots and BLOOM!

Monday, June 6, 2016

How to Plant Dahlia Tubers


Howdy friends! Happy June! I've missed you! How has it been nearly a month since my last post? I can assure you it's not for lack of good writing material. I've been getting my gardens and containers prepped for planting while waiting for the weather to warm up enough to plant my dahlia tubers and seeds. We've had a cool, wet spring so I've held off on planting anything outside until last week. I can't tell you how excited I am to have them in the ground finally!

 At first sight a dahlia tuber can be a little intimidating to the new grower.  It can be difficult to distinguish which end is up, or down. Honestly, how can anything this ugly make something so beautiful?

The tuber above is one that I dug up and over wintered from last season. It already had a new eye start on it before I stored it. You can see where the stem was cut off at the very top of the photo. When you plant dahlia tubers, plant them with the stem facing upwards and the tubers hanging below facing downwards in a six inch deep hole. Cover them and water in well but be careful not to soak them. You don't want to risk rotting the tubers before they get going!

Give your dahlias nutrient rich soil with plenty of organic matter mixed in and a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day.

I over wintered last seasons tubers in a plastic bin filled with pine shavings. This is how they looked when I uncovered them in April to check for mold or any rotted soft material on the tubers. Always check your tubers during storage to make sure they're not getting too moist. I also trimmed off all the dried scraggly roots from the tubers and then I placed them in fresh shavings until planting time.

Dahlias bloom on tall plants that can reach over 5" tall. They will fall to the ground if not supported correctly.  I like to wait until they get several inches above ground before I stake them. That way I can be sure not to disturb or damage the tubers. Wooden stakes or bamboo garden stakes work well in a small operation where only one or two people tend the flowers. I tie them up with regular old garden twine. Have I mentioned how much I love twine? I L.O.V.E. TWINE!

Dahlias growing tall and proud! 

If you haven't tried dahlias in your garden or backyard flower farm yet I hope you'll give them a try this season. I love using them in my wedding work and I especially enjoy them on my dining room table, or anywhere for that matter!

I'm excited to see how the new Bridal Mix and Antique Anemone varieties I ordered from Eden Brothers do this year!  

Put down some roots and bloom!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sassy Succulants

Just look at these sassy succulents!  Have you gotten caught up in the succulent craze yet?
Succulents originate from desert areas and hold most of their water in their soft rubbery petals. They only need to be watered once a week and prefer a spot out of the sun. They require very little in the way of care but they give back in a big way. And, they're fun to plant up in different containers and vases. I snapped the top photo while visiting a booth at The Country Living Fair in Nashville recently. I just love how the bright green and purple play off of each other and the moss covering underneath the petals gives the whole container some pop! 

I also spotted these darling vintage-style painted jars planted up with succulents there and had to give them a try once I got home. I already had the painted jars left over from a Christmas project from last year. You can read about that here.

I love all the different shapes, colors and textures succulents offer the home gardener and floral designer alike.

Cactus plants have very similar requirements and can be mixed with succulents for an interesting textual look. I've just barely touched the surface for designing with succulents but I'm looking forward to experimenting more with them.

 Pinterest is loaded with gorgeous ideas for using them in your home and garden designs. I've started a Succulents board to keep me inspired. And, my new part time job at a local garden shop will surely keep me in good supply!

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