Thoughts on Wedding Flowers and Fall Planting

I am happy to report that I have all the silk flowers finished for my niece’s wedding. All I have to do is add ribbon to the bridesmaid’s bouquets and get everything packed and ready for transport. Yay! It has been a great experience for me, actually. Prior to starting this business, I had this idea in my head that I would not enjoy making corsages and boutonnieres. I think part of it was that everyone I had talked to said they were kind of like factory work—you just have your formula and pump them out.

On the contrary, I quite enjoyed making these. Choosing the flowers to put into them made it fun, and I also enjoyed just putting them together and playing with the colors and flower forms to make it look really good. In a way, this was reassuring, as I plan to advertise my corsage/boutonniere services this year for the High School dances and such. Maybe it won’t be the drudgery I had feared! ;)

ribbon corsage

So, final tally: 6 bridesmaid’s bouquets, 1 throw bouquet, 10 boutonnieres, 5 corsages

They probably took me way longer than they should have, but I am confident that as I gain more experience making them I’ll get faster.

So this week I’m moving on to the fresh flowers! I am very excited about that, as well! I still have the bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonniere to make, table centerpieces x 10, and cake flowers x 3. In case you were wondering, I will purchase supplemental flowers for these.

My own flowers have struggled this month. Watering issues, mostly. Drip irrigation is going to the top of my list for next year. My roses are just barely starting their 2nd flush of flowers, but even if there are some at the right stage for cutting by the end of the week, there won’t be enough for everything I’m doing. So I'll buy more of those. There’s a chance I’ll have some hydrangea ready, and I should have a few cosmos, but I will need some more flowers in her colors, for sure.

For greenery, I’ve got sedums, ninebark, and smidgeon of Queen Anne’s lace out there. I’m going to purchase boxwood from a flower farmer friend of mine, along with some statice. I am also planning to buy zinnias from a different local flower farmer, and I have reached out to a 3rd who I think has roses, but haven’t heard back yet. Other than that, I may have to go to the wholesaler and just pick up a few odds and ends in the right color scheme to fill in around the rest.

I looked into ordering both roses and peonies from other states (California and Alaska, respectively), but both the farms/co-ops that I looked at had minimum orders too far above my budget.

This week’s harvest: it was a bit of a hodgepodge—1 or 2 things here and there!

This week’s harvest: it was a bit of a hodgepodge—1 or 2 things here and there!

In other news, today I got 2 rows cleared out and weeded: the bachelor’s buttons row (except for one last plant on the end that is still blooming) and what should have been the orlaya row—5 tiny plants is all. Each row had a couple of volunteer sunflowers, and every one of them was all completely brown and eaten up inside and full of tiny white grubs. It was so gross! I think they were sunflower stem borers. I need to research some more to be sure. In any case, I plan to go out this week and pull out the rest. [My apologies to the goldfinch that has frequented the patch!] I haven’t sold any of these sunflowers this year anyway, because they were some that overwintered from last year—pretty, but undesirable in that they drop pollen like crazy! My pollen-free varieties didn’t make it this year.

Once I’m done with this wedding, I plan to change my focus to fall planting. I want to get as many perennials as I can on end-of-season sales, especially echinacea, daisies, yarrow, and rudbeckia. I also want a rose bush to replace the one that died out front (I’m thinking spray roses could be very helpful), and 2 more hydrangea bushes for the right side of my front shade bed.

Those 3 echinacea I bought and planted in the spring have really come through for me this season, so I’m hoping if I can get a bunch more now, by next year I will have plenty to choose from every week. I especially want to get a variety of colors—’Cheyenne Spirit,’ yellows, of course the purples, even a few of those blindingly bright ones. I have a watermelon red rose that would look good with some orange-red shades.

I will get my bulb order in as well. I may not buy any tulips this year—WHAT?! Really, though, I feel like I need to focus on building up my stock of bulbs that the deer don’t eat before I get more of those. Or I need to get a low tunnel set up out there to protect the tulips from…everything. So I’m looking for more alliums, possibly some camassia, plus some of the more unusual lily varieties. I’ve got to sit down and figure out a budget for all this first thing.

What projects are you working on this fall?