EVERY SEASON TURN, TURN, BY JANIS SMITH HARRIS
You have found the One, set the date and picked the theme and colour of your wedding. Does your flower selection match? Do you dream of a pink Peony wedding or a fresh Tulip bouquet? Is it a fluffy Hydrangea mound or a summery Sunflower bunch? If your date and flowers match then you can support local flower farmers!
Looking back on my own wedding, even I had outrageous flower demands. My husband and I were married June 13 and I just had to have bright, cheery and colourful Zinnias. I am lucky enough to have a Mom that was willing to take on the challenge.
Zinnias are normally in season in mid-July to frost. My mom babied and carefully cared for the Zinnia plants that she started at least a month earlier than normal in the greenhouse. I did have Zinnia in my bouquet but not without a lot of extra stress on my amazing mom. Here is a picture of my beautiful bouquet.
6 Years, 3 Babies and after opening Harris Flower Farm I now know that I should have been thinking more seasonal with my flower choices. Why I didn't have Peonies in the peak of their season is beyond me! Peonies are in bloom in April (after the first frost) to mid-June and they are a gorgeous fluffy, beautiful smelling Spring flower! Aren't they just stunning?
80% of the cut flowers bought in Canada and the U.S are imported. Buying locally grown flowers supports the local economy and community. Also, flowers that are harvested from around the corner, instead of around the world, have a longer vase life and smell better. The local food movement is gaining so much momentum, the local flower movement can be just as great.
We are in our 7th growing season at Harris Flower Farm and we can see first hand how the excitement is growing for local flowers. Every year we are adding more Perennials, Annuals, Bulbs and Flowering Tree Stock. The demand is growing as well, we have increased the number of weddings, events, occasion orders and markets we attend.
Local farmers can also grow flowers that can not be shipped or something that has a very short vase life but amazing for the 10 hours you need for the wedding or event. Like Poppies or Clematis or Irises. They are amazingly beautiful flowers but they don't last for long shipments.
I have met with Brides anywhere from 18 months to two weeks before their wedding. One Bride knew she wanted pink Peonies, she hadn't picked her date but the venue had one June and one August opening. I right away told her, "You are getting married in June!". The Peonies were perfect for her day (bouquet shown above).
I received an email from a Bride two and a half weeks before her August wedding. When we met she basically told me, "I want purple and white flowers". That was all the direction I had. Two weeks later she carried a bouquet with amazing Lisianthus, Zinnia, Salvia, Asters and a special purple Queen Anne's Lace. She was thrilled. Take a look at this stunner!
I have the luxury of using so many elements in the bouquets. I am not restricted to having to order things in weeks or even months ahead. I find so many cool things. Parsley Flower Heads, Mints, Trumpet Vine, Ferns, Rosehips, Wheat... The list could go on. Anything that is in perfect condition and fits the vision goes is used. This year one of our weddings had green Blueberries on the branch and another Bride had small green Apples tucked in her bouquet.
With anything in nature, there is always variation in colour, size and form. To some Brides the unique features are perfect, others want perfect symmetry. So when I meet with a couple I make sure that our styles are going to mesh. There have been wedding visions that I have directed to other floral professionals simply because it didn't match what I do. I do my best work when I stay true to the natural and local styles. I will fully admit I don't know how to work with dyed Orchids or Bird of Paradise flowers, they are very beautiful but I simply do not work with them.
One Spring day last year, while out picking for the markets I played around and made a pretend bouquet. My 7-week old daughter was sleeping in the wrap on me and I wanted her to stay sleeping :) so I dreamed that I had a wedding that day and the Bride told me to pick the most beautiful flowers. I dreamed she didn't have a preference of colour, style or kind of flowers used, just so long as they were local.
This is what she would have walked down the aisle with. The Apple and Crab Apple blossoms were in full bloom, the first Lilacs of the year were opening and some of the most amazing smelling flowering Currant was sending the most beautiful fragrance that could be smelled to all corners of the farm.
I know to some that would be very stressful not knowing what you would have in your bouquet as I am usually a 'planner' myself. But I also know that there isn't a flower I don't love. In the heat of the August sun, I am busy picking so many flowers. There is an abundance.
At Bridal Shows, I am always thrilled when a Bride says they have an August date. There are so many flowers growing then including 19 different varieties of Sunflowers, Lilies, Zinnia, and Lisianthus.
There are too many flowers to name in this show stopper above. The Bride even had extra material from her beaded belt so we used it to wrap the stems.
In Southwestern Ontario, we are lucky to have many flower growers. From large greenhouses to smaller flower farms. I have made relationships with other growers so I can source other locally grown flowers to achieve my Couples vision. The first choice is to use flowers we grow but anything local is better than shipped from the other side of the world. Like this wedding on January 3rd, all greens and flowers were locally sourced, it can totally be done!
I could go on and on posting pretty pictures of flowers, trust me I could! I hope this post has proven that choosing to support local will still allow you to get a unique and pretty array of flowers that can be another part of your wedding that you can source locally.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions about flowers, what's in season on the farm and how we can make your floral dreams become a reality.
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