This week floral style blogger, Kyla Helgeson, guides us through this seasons blooms, the best winter flowers for weddings and all occasions.
Oh, baby it’s cold outside! It feels like we’ve been thrown head first into winter this year, there seemed to be no gradual change from summer, autumn and now winter. One day it seemed warm the next it’s simply freezing. I do love every season throughout the year, warm summer nights, autumn leaves in the hills and winter for me is all about home cooking, spending time with my children for cosy cuddles and of course the winter flowers! It is one of my favourite times of the year for flowers.
So this week I wanted to delve into the types of wedding flowers available in winter, mostly because I am inspired by this time of year, with sweet peas, hyacinths, stocks, tulips, helleborus and blushing bride all making an appearance. Also, for many winter brides searching online for inspiration it can be confusing as to the winter blooms that are available in Australia with European and American inspiration thrown in the mix. So here is the bridal bible of my favourite seasonal winter flowers Australia.
The hyacinth flower grows from a bulb that produces four to six tall straight leaves and one to three spikes of flowers. On each large flower spike there are many little florets. These florets can be wired (very carefully) and used in buttonholes, corsages, flower circlets and other intricate designs.
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The whole larger spike can also be used in wedding bouquets as a great focal point flower. As you can see in this bouquet example below by Kae And Ales, a bouquet of all hyacinth is simply divine. These beautiful blooms are available in white, blue, pink, purple, peach and lemon tones. When buying hyacinth for home, they are often sold in bunches of four stems. They are sometimes sold with the bulb still attached and you can leave them like this as they will last longer, or you can cut off the bulb and clean the stems of any excess soil. For longevity, recut the stems and keep changing the water every other day.
I adore sweet peas, simply adore them! They hold so many personal precious memories for me. My Mum and I would plant them together in the garden and I would love going and seeing which colours they blossomed to be as they can be a bit of pot luck. Mum used to affectionately call me sweet pea and now I find myself calling my daughter sweet pea too.
As cut flowers they are gorgeous in hand-tied posies and perfect for wedding bouquets. They have soft delicate blooms that gives a romantic ruffled style. Plus the colour range of sweet peas is extensive and amazing, from a divine cream with a purple edge, through to pinks, mauves, purples and reds. They add a softness to a bouquet or floral design when scattered through and mixed with other seasonal blooms. How gorgeous is this bouquet by Bows and Arrows?
Another personal favourite winter flower of mine is stocks. This also comes from my mother as she used to tell me how when I was born (a winter babe in August) she was given stocks and her hospital room was filled with their sweet woody scent. Every year I try and give my Mum a bunch of the first seasons stock, which reminds me, I better get to the markets!
Stocks are a great flower to use in winter weddings, as a feature in a bouquet or to place through table centres and larger arrangements. They have a very thick tall stem so just a few can make a great impact. Through out the season their size and quality does range, so look for tall thick stems and check the freshness by looking at the florets. You can tell when a stock is coming to it’s end as the flowers discolour, turning brown and mushy or slimy just like rotten fruit.
The hues that can be found in helleborus are so divine, muted tones of white (although not a pure white), green, dusty pink, mauve, maroon and even black. What I love about these blooms most is they look like they have been hand painted, with contrasting speckles, veins and blended colours. They can be found in winter gardens as a low-growing plant.
As a cut flower they are delicate and have a short vase life of only a few days. Perfect for the most special day of all, for wedding bouquets they add a point of interest as a unique accent flower with their buttercup blooms and work really well scattered loosely through garden posies. I am absolutely in love with the tones in this floral design by Sarah Winward.
I have to admit, I have a love-hate relationship with tulips. They are so beautiful, especially the parrot tulip varieties which I love. But did you know, they are a flower that continues to grow in stem length even after it has been cut! For this reason, I sometimes think of them as naughty children, as you try to put them in place in an arrangement, only to see the next day they have grown wild and are finding their own path. They naturally tend to bend and ‘fall over’ too, so they are best enjoyed from a higher viewpoint like a mantle, for example, then you can look up into their gorgeous throats.
For weddings, tulips can be used as a tight compact posy bouquet like the example below. Posies like these can work well in simple vessels for a table centerpiece as well. Tulips are great flowers to also submerge inside a round fishbowl or cylinder glass vase filled with water. If you want the blooms tight, order only a few days before your wedding/event, enough for them to start showing colour but not fully open.
They are also pretty displayed in their natural carefree form, like this example by Kathleen Deery Design. Either way, they look beautiful and are a lovely choice.
Finally, it’s not winter and not a winter wedding without blushing bride. In contrast to some of the other delicate winter blooms, this little flower is a native from South Africa and very long lasting. The blooms are mainly white with slight pink and green hues. They are an interesting little bloom that I love to admire and add great texture to wedding bouquets.
In bouquets and other floral arrangements, blushing bride, can add great texture and a point of interest in a design.
So this winter, rug up and take a walk in your local area or botanical gardens and try and catch some of these gorgeous blooms that will brighten up any day. For brides, there are many pluses to winter weddings, the best being the flower choice is divine!