Spring has finally given way to summer… the bees are buzzing, the fruit trees are in blossom and the wedding season is here, so if you are looking for a scented and natural look to your wedding flowers, look no further than our very own British flowers.
How do you find them?
Simply ask your local florist if they can source British flowers through their flower wholesalers, alternatively there are many wedding and event florists in the country who specialise in supplying British-grown seasonal flowers and can be found by searching here at The British Flower Collective.
You can, of course, also pick your own. Further information can be found on the British Flower Collective website. Another source can be found in farmers’ markets/shops selling flowers from the farm on a regular basis. A very good resource is the Flowers from the Farm website if you want to find a British grower near you or your florist.
Which flowers are available?
This time of year is very exciting for British flowers as they really start to bloom. There are lots of cornflowers in all colours; blues, purples, white and beautiful pinks, which look stunning in flower crowns. The nigella begins to pop with pale blues, darker blues and white. Other British flowers currently in season in June are lavender, daisies, poppies, rosemary, forget-me-not, foxglove, sweet pea, delphinium, peonies, roses, ammi majus (commonly known as Lady’s Lace), alliums, sweet williams, white gypsophila and gypsophila kermesnia (a stunning small pink flower) of which the honey scent is gorgeous and would add a special touch to a bouquet.
LAVENDER (Botanical name: Lavandula)
Lavender is very much a nostalgic flower; most people can identify it and most love the evocative scent. It is an evergreen shrub, relatively easy and fast to grow and thrives in a sunny border. As well as being decorative it can be used as a culinary herb or as an essential oil which has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities. Flowering time is from around June to August. When used in floral design it looks best upright, resembling its natural growing pattern. There are many different varieties of lavender; personal favourites are French lavender and Imperial Gem. Frequently requested by nervous brides in their bouquets for it’s calming scent!
Rustic lavender bouquets tied up in hessian and twine.
PEONY (Botanical name: Lactiflora Grp.)
Peonies are one of the most popular wedding flowers, make great focal flowers when fully open and are usually only in season commercially from around early April up to mid-July. Peonies are the floral symbol of China, and are regarded as a symbol of good fortune and a happy marriage. Once planted Peonies can live up to 100 years old. They natively grow in Asia, south Europe and North America. Peonies are available in almost every colour except blue. One of the most requested varieties by brides are called ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ which is a lovely soft pink with flecks of darker pink.
Blousy pink Peony takes centre stage in this bouquet.
LOVE-IN-A-MIST (Botantical name: Nigella Damascena)
This appropriately named flower is very popular currently with bridal flowers, not only as it is one of the few blue flowers available, but also because it looks great mixed with other wildflowers to create the ‘just-picked’ look. In its native habitat – of South Europe and North Africa – this flower tends to grow along roadsides and rocky or waste ground. Love-in-a-mist flowers are typically bright blue to very pale blue – but also available in whites and pinks. The blue colours tend to look great in bridal bouquets with silver grey foliage’s such as ‘Dusty Miller’ or ‘Baby Blue’ eucalyptus.
Pretty pops of blue Love In A Mist.
CORNFLOWER (Botanical name: Centaurea cyanus)
This lovely wild flower is commonly known as cornflower or bachelor’s button; which refers to the old practice of some men to wear a cornflower in their buttonhole of their suit when they are in love or ready for ‘courting’! It is native to Europe and in the past it tended to grow as a weed in cornfields, hence the name. It blooms mostly from June to September. These flowers are a rich source of nectar which means they attract bees and butterflies, the main pollinators of this flower.
Bright blue Cornflowers make a statement.
As you can see, the list of British flowers available around this time is endless and if you really want to investigate further I would recommend downloading a seasonal chart from British Flowers Week.
Why British flowers?
One of the many advantages of British flowers is that the costs are very reasonable compared to flowers flown in from Holland or other countries and home grown also brings a reduction in carbon footprint. The only downside I can think of is that the vase life can be shorter compared to commercially grown flowers in Holland which are kept at a constant temperature and are cut before they fully mature thereby prolonging their longevity. All you need to do is cut them just before you need to use them. Another very good advantage of the British flower is the scent, which is unbeatable. Commercially grown flowers are less likely to have one.
British Flowers Week
British Flowers Week is held on June 19 to 25 each year and is organised by New Covent Garden Flower Market. It is a week-long celebration for British Flowers and the UK cut-flower industry, themselves a leading supplier of British-grown flowers; so keep a look out for special offers and promotions.
It’s a very busy and important time for British flower growers. So if you’re you’re getting married from now until the end of October and are looking for natural and whimsical flowers, ask your florist to source British and help the British Flower industry grow again. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
*This is the first in the flower feature series from Whimsical Wonderland Weddings expert contributor and florist extraordinare Flowers by Suzanne Randell*