There are so manywhich grow easily and are excellent for general church and wedding flower arrangers that it is very hard to pick out particular types. Here are listed varieties which have proved and at the same time invaluable as wedding flowers, but no doubt the list can be added to year after year. If there is very little interest in growing plants and there is an empty bed, why not grow alchemilla and some euphorbia}
H A = hardy annual
H H A = half hardy annual
P = perennial
(yarrow): P; yellow; dries; July-September.
Alchemilla major (mollis) (lady’s mantle): P; lime green flowers; dries; April-June. Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon): P; mixed colours; July-September.(columbine): P; mixed colours; April-June. novi-belgi (Michaelmas daisy): P; late flowering.
Arctic, double white.
Elizabeth Bright, double pink.
Campanula (Canterbury bells) white and purple; June-August.maximum (shasta daisy): P; July.
Esther Read, double white.
Phyllis Smith, single white.: A; white, mauve, blue; heads and flowers dry; June. ajacia (larkspur): H H A; pink, white, blue; dries, June. barbatus (sweet william): B;mixed reds, white, purple; dries; May-June. Euphorbia: P
E. robbiae (spurge), dark green, pale green bracts in spring; long-lasting if conditioned well.
E. wulfeni (giant spurge); large heads particularly suitable for pedestal. Nicotiana alata (tobacco plant): H H A;greenish white; also hybrid species, pink, red and crimson; July-September. Paeonia (paeony): P P. lacriflora (single) Emma, carmine pink. Jan Van Leenven, large white, gold centre. Pink Delight, rose pink, gold stamens.
P. officinalis (double), red, pink, white; superb foliage which goes gold and red in autumn. Phlox: P; July-September
Charles Curtis, cherry red.
Evangeline, rose pink.
Mia Ruys and Rembrandt, white. Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan): P; yellow, golden yellow brown centre; July-September.: P; September-October S. atropurpureum, pale pink flowers, superb copper foliage.
S. spectabile, bright pink flowers; dries.
Bulbs, corms, etc
If you have decided to make a flower bed in the churchyard, you could include spring flowers like daffodils and narcissus, or daffodils could be planted under trees. If you have a specialbed in a garden, include a row of white or pink , as well as daffodils and tulips. I find the ‘lily flowering’ variety of tulip, with graceful pointed petals, particularly pretty and useful in May when the earlier spring flowers have finished.
(corms) grow well in a sunny and well drained bed. If the planting of them is staggered over several weeks they will provide flowers from May to September. They need to be weeded and staked, and to be lifted in November, so they do entail quite a lot of work.
The nerine bowdenii is quite one of the most valuable of bulbs. Many people say that nerines need a south wall, but they grow well in beds among shrubs provided that they get enough light and sun. They are sometimes slow to flower, but once they have blossomed they increase every year. They last at least a fortnight if picked as they are just coming out.
Dried Materials for Church wedding flowerDuring the winter months when gardens are bare and flowers are very expensive to buy, dried plant material is invaluable to the church florist. In the past the methods of preservation were limited and the winter colour range was confined to shades of brown and beige. Nowadays there are several methods in use which allow the natural colours to be kept, so that it is possible to have beautiful with wide ranges of shades as well as interesting textures. However, the vase should from time to time be re-arranged. I saw a vase once which had remained in a church for three years untouched and gathering clouds of dust! Eventually it seemed to be part of the building! If you amass a good collection of dried material you can ring the changes with it, or mix it with fresh foliage or flowers. Drying does, however, take time, and it is important to take trouble: otherwise you will end up with very tatty bits and pieces!