Where to find fresh wedding flowers

Many flower guilds will include people who have well stocked gardens or friends who will give generously for wedding flowers or the church, so that the provision of flowers for wedding services is no real problem. There are, however, other churches, particularly in urban areas, which will not be self-sufficient. Then there are cathedrals and large churches which are open every day of the week and are decorated with a number of flower arrangements calling for great quantities of material. In the case of buildings like these it is desirable to work out a plan to provide a weekly supply of flowers and foliage.

FLOWER POOL

On occasions such as weddings when special flower arrangements are usual it is desirable to have a pool of flowers upon which the decorators can draw. An appeal may usefully be made from the pulpit asking the congregation and their friends to contribute flowers and foliage from their gardens; or the appeal may be made in the parish magazine. It is important to stress that quality is the most important thing, not quantity. So, if 12 people each bring only one beautiful delphinium in perfect condition there will be enough to make up a splendid arrangement. A time should be arranged for the flowers to be brought to the church, and there should be members of the flower guild ready waiting to condition them if necessary and to plunge them in buckets of water. If enough people are asked to help a good pool of flowers and foliage is quickly built up. Quite soon the flower guild gets to know the best sources of good material and can ask directly.

THE COUNTRYSIDE

In hedgerows, verges and elsewhere the countryside abounds with interesting arranger’s material. Bluebells will last provided they are massed together and conditioned well. There is lots more to be found if you search for it.

THE VEGETABLE AND HERB GARDEN

This is a great provider. My favourites are the globe artichoke, which has splendid grey leaves; fennel, which provides tall feathery green leaves; carrot which has been sown in the spring and left in the ground until the following summer, by which time it is sprouting white flowers about two feet in height and long lasting in water; parsley which has gone to seed, and rhubarb in flower. Marjoram gives a good yellow foliage for low arrangements. There are many other vegetables which one can use, including cauliflowers and ornamental cabbage leaves. When using cauliflowers cut off some of the outside leaves and wedge the head well down into chicken wire.

INDOOR BULBS

After Christmas the choice of flowers is very limited and it is therefore helpful if there are people who are prepared to grow bowls of spring flowers. Obviously this is something which has to be planned in the previous August when the catalogues appear. All the bulbs will be purchased with flower fund money. These are great for providing flowers for weddings in the winter.

If hyacinths are to flower in January it is necessary to buy bulbs specially treated for indoor growing, to plant them in September, and to keep them in the dark for six weeks. They can then be brought into the church even if there is no regular heat. The congregation enjoys watching them develop. When choosing colours it is best to have bulbs all the same colour in each bowl.

Daffodils which are recommended for indoor culture make a welcome splash of colour, as do early double tulips. The latter provide a glorious mixture of bright colours. They develop slowly and faindy resemble double paeonies. If the church is dark the flowers tend to grow taller, so they should be staked.

If the church possesses large urns, soup tureens or preserving pans, which are very good for the display of bulbs, it is a good idea to try to find less valuable containers which will fit inside. The bulbs can be grown in these containers, which, when the bulbs are ready for display, can be dropped inside the urns. Unless inner containers are used, the church will be deprived of its good ones for a long period.

Forced bulbs cannot be used indoors a second time, so when they have finished flowering they should be planted out in the churchyard or in gardens.

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