“He would make a bouquet for a lovely lady; a bouquet gathered off the cheeks of the morning…these roses, only half awake, in the defenselessness of their beauty.” –Willa Cather, A Lost Lady
There’s nothing lovelier than bouquets of varying colorful flowers—from your very own garden—to embellish tables for summer picnics, mantelpieces, dining room tables, and vanities. And there’s nothing quite as special or romantic as presenting a hand-picked bouquet to someone you love. Tie the stems together with a ribbon or twine for that extra special flair.
While some flowers are better left on the bush or tree, some are just begging to be picked!
- Calendula or “pot marigolds” come back each year and are very simple to grow. They also make a statement bouquet—on their own or as an accent—because of their vivid hue.
- Sunflowers are, of course, great for the environment because they attract lots of bees and reseed themselves. They also grow really well in vast numbers (in a patch or field). Because some sunflowers grow to be incredibly tall with a stem too thick for cutting, try a small to medium-size variety.
Wildflowers like butterfly weeds, cosmos, coneflowers (Echinacea), yarrow, and Queens Anne’s Lace are always exceptional in a bouquet, either as filler or the main attraction. These wildflowers tend to spread easily, so they create overgrown landscapes (perfect for an English country garden or “cottage core” aesthetic). The best time to cut any flower is before the blossom has unfurled, while it’s still opening. This way, the flower will continue to mature in the vase, revealing all its different stages before wilting.
When Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote, “I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one,” she must have been thinking about wildflowers. Lush, verdant meadows and fields are filled with so many different flowers that it can be overwhelming; these are the flowers that re-sow themselves and self-propagate; they aren’t fussy or finicky, and these are also the best flowers to plant and pick. You can sow a large wildflower patch, pick enough for several bouquets, and still have a lush, full garden. So, go ahead and get several packets of mixed wildflower seeds and scatter them about. Once tended in moisture-rich soil with plenty of water and sunlight, you’ll be surprised how quickly they grow.
- Love-in-a-mist, or Nigella, is a whimsical, romantic flower with seeds commonly used as a spice in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. With soft, fine foliage, Nigella is known for its spectacular, multi-layered blossoms and is relatively low-maintenance.
- Zinnias are bright, colorful flowers in the Asteraceae family and do well in dry conditions.
- Dahlias add a full, fuzzy effect to any bouquet (and make a splash on their own). Because they are so lush and colorful, they make great arrangements (although they usually last less than a week in a vase).
- Sweet peas are the quintessential English flower. With an enchanting scent, these delicate beauties have vines as foliage and are exceptional when planted on a trellis so they can climb. They are beautiful in the garden as well as clipped in a bouquet.
- Black-eyed Susans have hardy, hairy stems and beautiful yellow petals with a dark bold center.
- Lupine and Delphinium are a lot like gladiolas in the sense that they’re so ostentatious. Tall, slender stalks covered with blossoms assure a large bouquet with a lot of heft, so make sure you use a heavy vase with a stable base and arrange the flowers evenly.
- Asters are the true blue flowers of summer; they bloom well into the fall and spread like crazy, so there’s always enough to go around for several floral arrangements. They also come in a variety of colors and, because of their daisy-like appearance, are charming and simple.
- Daylilies are absolutely everywhere during the summer. They add height and elegance to any arrangement and also have long sturdy stems perfect for cutting. The great thing about any lily is that their stalks have multiple blooms and will continue to open in the vase; just clip away the wilted ones to prepare for the new buds to open. This will ensure a long-lasting bouquet.
- Sweet Williams are a lot tougher than they look! The thick clusters of blooms last longer when cut in a vase than one may think (up to three weeks).
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