(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on April 23, 2009. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
Spring is nigh and soon summer will return to warm our hearts and bring the garden landscape back to life. As the flowers bloom, I am once again moved by the music of another remarkable composer as perhaps one of the most recognized pieces of classical music echoes around every corner of the garden. Pachelbel's Canon is most commonly heard at weddings as the processional or as the wedding march itself and with every wedding, there are always wedding flowers.
If you would enjoy listening to this beautiful piece of music as you read, please click here.
There are some events in life that have the potential to endure forever in our minds and hearts: your first love, first kiss and of course your wedding. The spiritual connection two people share is forever bonded in our ancient ritual of hope and love. Family, music and food provide all the essential elements to create the perfect experience. When I hear Canon by Pachebel I automatically think of weddings and being a gardener, I tend to think of the beautiful flowers that lend grace and elegance to the ceremony. I believe it serves as a reminder that our connection with nature is ever present and therefore it is only natural to celebrate such an important day with the beauty of some of the most desirable flowers in the world. Wedding flowers tend to represent the "who's who" of the flower kingdom. With the spotlight on center stage (the bridal bouquet), the roses stand proudly. They come together grandly and boast their reds, yellows and pinks. They are often complimented with baby's breath or perhaps even some asters. Beyond the roses are the decorative flowers and they vary season to season.
If having a summer wedding, peonies and lilies are a lovely choice for centerpieces or perhaps pew and chair decorations. If you are having a springtime wedding, tulips, ranunculus or even lilacs are gorgeous, fashionable options to add that extra bit of detail to make the day even more perfect. Beautiful flowers can be used to decorate not only the venue but the wedding party as well. Traditionally the maid of honor and bridesmaids all carry bouquets but let us not forget the men. The groom, best man and groomsmen should all be given flowers for their button holes. I wore roses that matched my wife's bouquet and thought it added that extra touch of class. I will let you be the judge though. This photo is of my bestman, groomsmen and ring bearer. Ironically, I am the guy without the flower.
Every bride is different and depending on their traditions and personal taste, you will almost always find something different when it comes to flower choices. Most brides will select flowers their florist recommends and though most flowers are technically available year round, it is always best to get seasonal flowers grown locally so you know they will last. From experience, one of the first questions we ask the florist is what flowers are typically associated with the season we choose to get married in. I found this wonderful site which lists favorite seasonal flowers by season and here is the list:
SPRING: Cherry blossom, Daffodil, Forsythia, Freesia (available year round), Hyacinth, Lilac, Lily-of-the-valley, Peony, Sweet pea (into early summer) and Tulips.
SUMMER: Calla lily (the miniature is especially popular), Dahlia, Gardenia, Gerber daisy, Gladiola, Delphinium, Hydrangea, Lily, Sunflower and Tuber roses.
AUTUMN: Amaranthus, Aster, Berries (such as holly), Calla lily, Chrysanthemum, Grapevine, and Hydrangeas.
WINTER: Amaryllis, Evergreen, Gardenia (a summer flower that's popular in the winter), Pinecone, Rose, and Star of Bethlehem
Flowers have always been present at weddings. In ancient times, herbs such as rosemary, marjoram and even dill were used to form the bridal bouquet. Dill (Anethum graveolens) was said to be the herb of lust and a bride would only lust after her husband if she carried Dill and garlic together; Sage (Salvia officinalis) was believed to be a herb of wisdom and the bride who carried Sage and garlic together was believed to learn goodness and gather great wisdom. (Source: Suite101.Com). Herbs are not used much today but if I had to do it over again, I believe I would embrace some of these ancient traditions just to be unique. I am almost certain my wife would not embrace it as much as me but I would certainly try and convince her.
As Canon comes to an end, I am left with all the memories of the most celebrated ceremony of human kind. This congregation of human spirit, love and bonding is highlighted by the words, the music and the natural world. I can perpetuate the event again and again by growing all of the flowers associated with not only my beautiful day but for the days of family and friends as well. I gaze at these beautiful flowers and begin to reflect on the traditions associated with weddings. It seems we have taken all that is good and pure in our world and brought it together for one moment as we celebrate the union of two people forever.
The thumbnail image of the lisianthus is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The centerpiece image was taken by the author and the wedding photo is courtesy of a family member. Thank you for reading!