Our favourite bouquet or vase of flowers just has to be wild! And if you have the plants in your garden, then that is even better! Not only will your bunch look gorgeous but it will be completely free. The article and photos below are reproduced by kind permission of Grow Wild who spoke to Rachel Petheram of Catkin, a florist with a wild side, to get some tips. Rachel grows many of her own flowers in the walled kitchen garden of Doddington Hall in Lincs and is an expert flower grower and flower teacher!
Before you start
There are a few things you should bear in mind before you start:
- Wear gloves – some plants can cause skin irritation and thin latex surgical gloves are best. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
- Forage sensitively – many creatures rely on wild flowers and seeds.
- Ask permission – always ensure you have permission from the landowner if you’re foraging on private land.
- Be responsible – forage safely and if in doubt ask permission before you cut.
Where to forage
You will find loads of inspiration in hedgerows and grass verges, alongside canals and rivers, in hidden corners of urban heaths and commons and even on the edge of derelict land or industrial estates. And don’t forget your own green space; there is often good ‘wild’ bouquet material lurking in hidden corners.
10 great wild bouquet components
Here are five things you can forage for:
- Blackberries – carefully snip off the thorns to make handling easier and use before berries fully ripen. Ivy berries and rosehips also look great.
- Grasses – to add a light airy feel. Other seed-heads to try include dock, poppy and wild carrot.
- Coloured stems – the red, orange and green stems of dogwoods and other plants such as willow make an interesting twist.
- Spring blossom – the flowering ends of apple and cherry branches are perfect for larger arrangements.
- Herbs – A few aromatic sprigs of mint, rosemary or oregano plucked from your herb pots will add another dimension.
And here are five wildflowers that make excellent cut flowers:
- Field scabious
- Wild carrot
- Oxeye daisy
- Red campion
Don’t forget, dried seed heads, such as Teasel and Wild Carrot can also look stunning.
How to make your wild bouquet
What you will need:
- Secateurs or a sturdy pair of scissors
- A bucket (to condition your flowers in)
- String (to tie your bouquet)
- A watertight container (a large jam jar or tin can is fine)
You will also need five to seven stems each of seven to nine different elements. Roughly half the material you cut should be flowers and the other half foliage or other stuff such as stems or seed-heads. Have one dominant flower and two or three other flowers. For the other material use a variety of textures and shapes from leaves to airy seed-heads to stiff stems.
Step 1: Cut
Snip your material the day before you want to make your bouquet. You should cut stems at least twice the height of the container you want to use.
Step 2: Condition
Place the cut stems into a bucket of water straight away so that half of the stems are submerged. Place the bucket in a cool dark place overnight where they will condition. This will make your flowers last longer.
Step 3: Strip
When you are ready to arrange remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the stem and divide the stems into piles.
Step 4: Arrange
You can do this either in your hand or directly into a container. Make a dome using the chunkier stems and foliage. Then push the flowers into the dome, spreading them evenly throughout. Finally insert the taller lighter stems, such as grasses, so that they poke out to create an airy outline. For a more compact bouquet wrap string around the stems several times and tie a knot.
Step 5: Water
Keep your container topped up and the bouquet as cool as possible to maximise vase life.
About Grow Wild
We love Grow Wild and its ethos of encouraging people to appreciate and engage with nature through wildflowers and fungi.
Grow Wild is the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew). The programme takes Kew’s message outside the walls of the two botanic gardens, reaching new and different audiences. They’re supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, and through private and public contributions.
Through Grow Wild, Kew is inspiring millions of people to grow as a group, get active, learn about and engage with nature, and give back through volunteering. All of which can improve health and wellbeing, as well as urban and unloved spaces across the UK.
Grow Wild plays an integral part of Kew’s strategic priorities helping to create and deliver an outstanding outreach proposition, which will help Kew achieve its vision of a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued and conserved – because our lives depend on them. Even more reason to have a wild bouquet on your wedding day!
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