By Katie at The Flower Festival
My wedding season is winding down now and making way for a few lovely breaks with family and friends but I wanted to spend some time discussing the merits of using seasonal (and local) flowers in wedding floristry.
For those who don’t know (and I didn’t!) the vast majority of flowers in arrangements in the UK come from Dutch suppliers and growers, and roses will be grown as far away as South America and Africa. These flowers are reliable and consistent to use, and certainly have a place in my work but supplementing them with ingredients from local growers undoubtedly makes for much more beautiful, unique arrangements.
When I was just starting up and learning, without knowing it I always tended to gravitate towards florists who used locally grown flowers and foliage. I just love the way that English-grown flowers and foliage add gorgeous variety, scent, texture and “a special something” to an arrangement – be that a bouquet, an urn or a table design. Locally grown flowers not only look and smell amazing but I also think that their movement and natural variation translates even more beautifully into video and photography.
The other benefit to this, of course, is that it is a more environmentally conscious way of working – air miles are removed, packaging is almost non existent, fewer pesticides can be used. Local flowers can be picked in the morning or evening, collected in a short round trip in a bucket, and be in use the following day in the same county they started life! I also find that British-grown flowers can be more resilient to weather conditions and have beautiful scents. Mint, roses, herbs, peonies all seem that little bit more fragrant.
Certainly, the growing season in this country is not as varied throughout the winter, but beautiful offers can be found all year. From tulips and daffodils in Spring, to roses and peonies into Summer, and (some of my favourites) dahlias as we go into the Autumn.
In practice, I tend to work at around a 70:30 ratio of Dutch to locally grown flowers, and where possible this can be much higher. There can be a slight unpredictability to buying from local growers: a bad storm or wind can wipe out a load of dahlias (as happened this year!), or colours and quantities can be less predictable and rigid. That said, I genuinely love everything that local flowers bring to floral design and wholeheartedly recommend them to the couples that I work with.
When it comes to locally grown flowers, then Flowers From the Farm is a great starting place as they are an organisation that has a directory of local flowers. Locally based in Hampshire and Dorset, The Real Flower Company, Medstead Flower Shack, Puggs Meadow and Stem & Green are all doing beautiful work growing British flowers. If you are looking for a Hampshire-based wedding florist who loves to create gorgeous and locally sourced work then please do have a look at my website and get in touch at www.flowerfestivalfloristry.co.uk