growing cut flowers for my sisters wedding, need advice.

Santa Cruz, CA(Zone 9b)

I'm growing so flowers for my sisters wedding on June 29th in the Monteray Bay in CA, cool coastal region. I cut flowers from my garden all the time but have never done anything like this before. I've puchased a book on how to grow cut flowers for selling that has quite a bit of good infomation. I'm trying to decide how I should approach the project. She requested bright colored, rustic, market style, not really bridal, so no babies breath or traditional florest style fillers.
First, Should I cut everything the morning before, do all the different treatments for the different flowers and then try to see if i can use the cooler at the farm that my sister works to store them over night? My concerns with this are that all the transporting and extra driving around would not be good and everything I'm growing seems to be ethylene sensitive and I know nothing about "silver treatments" that the cut flower book mentions. Where do a I get a "hydrating solution to jump start water uptake"? Also, this will be alot of extra time driving to and fro. We live in a coastal area that generally stays pretty cool unless were having a heat wave.
Or, I could just cut the flowers early in the morning and do it all the morning of. These are going to be very informal, blousy, cottege garden bouquets and some simple small table arrangements that I'm going to have to arrange at the site. A slice of log with a tealight in a canning jar and a bottle with a flower or two at each table. I think there will be 11 of these. I also have to do the bouquets for the bride and maids and the boutiniers. I would just work under my carport in the shade and if its forcasted to be hot work inside and plan to have my fridge empty of all veggies andor fruit.
I just want the flowers to look as fresh as possible and i'm worried about cutting them a day early. The wedding is at 3 o'clock. Does this seem like to way to much work to do the day of?
I'm growing
viscaria occulata
scabiosa 'fama blue'
foxgloves (hope I still have some of these)
bells of irland
maybe zinnias
rudbeckia triloba
roses "about face" (i don't know about this one as it looks like a shatterer)
Pink tea rose unknown
Sally thomas rose
Columbine (but these seem to shatter after a day)
Bunny tails
orange cosmos "bright lights"
clematis? (I don't know if these make good cut flowers)
mina lobata
Of these flowers, which would make the most sturdy boutiniers? I'm guessing the corn flower and coreopsis. My sister wants to wear a sweet pea in her hair but i'm worried about wilting. I'm really excited about this project and if I need to buy a few extra flowers I can to fill in. Anyone ever attached fresh flowers to a hair comb? Sorry to overwhelm. THanks!

Grantville, GA

Just one question. Why a question mark by zinnia? they are some of the best and longest lasting cut flowers!

seems like you're growing an awful lot for 11 table vases and wedding party bouquets...

Snapdragon, zinnia, bells of Ireland, amaranth, bunny tails, rudbeckia, scabiosa, all great cutting, long lasting.

Cosmos tends to shatter. Anchusa needs to be cut ahead, at least for me, it wilts first then perks back up.

I have never done clematis but it's supposed to make a great cut flower.

I do market bouquets and those above, with celosia for filler, yarrow and I have had a couple of people buy all my flowers for a wedding the following day. And returned and said the flowers were wonderful. I cut the afternoon before and arrange and keep in AC house until morning.

Santa Cruz, CA(Zone 9b)

Wonderful! Thats so encouraging! So do you use any of the treatment techniques that everyone mentions (boiling water, hydration solution, etc.)? About the Zinnias, We have cool foggy summers and If i'm remembering right zinnias and dahlias are just getting starting on June 29th and that's being optimistic. I feel like Im always waiting on my dahlias. I'm worried that june 29th is kind of a lull for me in the garden. Some of this stuff i already grow and some I haven't planted yet, still trying to get feedback. I'm just hoping that some of it will be blooming at that time. How far ahead of time should I cut the anchusa? Someone said that snaps tend to wilt and I have seen that a couple times, but now you make me reconsider. Im trying to decide when to start sowing the bells of ireland. I would love to grow flowers for the market. I'd probably have to find a space though as my yard is home orchard/flower garden and not really big enough or sunny enough for doing any kind of real production. Any words for someone who might just try to do the market thing some day?

Grantville, GA

I am pretty busy getting veggies and flowers ready for market so I'm a bit lazy about doing anything special for the flowers. But DG had a great article in this weeks newsletter for cut flowers. I pulled out the most economical recipe for me to try:

Mixture # 3:
2 tablespoons white vinegar,
2 tablespoons sugar, and
1/2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach, mixed with 1 quart water

Maybe you could start zinnias inside? A few anyway? The anchusa we picked one day ahead. So if I went to market on Sat. I picked most flowers Fri. morning or evening, but Anchusa a day before that.

You're in a totally different zone so I'm not sure what would be ready for you. What about forget me nots or dianthus? I'm trying to think of early spring flowers. Or flowers that like it cooler? Bachelor buttons are great for cooler weather. Calendula. Even daisy?

Really, if you have decent sized beds you'd be surprised how many cut flowers you can get out of it. I have a huge garden but I do 35 or more vases per week and usually have extra flowers for filler. Sometimes people surprise me and want to buy a vase of just fillers! Start with what you like, perennials and fill in with annuals like zinnias, celosia, annual salvia, cosmos (I don't do a lot of them, as much as I LOVE them, they just don't last for me.) Also, you can use shrubs for greenery. I have even used wild daisy and rue when I didn't have much going on in my garden. Hope that helps.

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Many of the flowers listed aren't ready for cutting in my garden until July-August. However, you are probably 3-4 weeks ahead of me being south of here. (I'm a zone 8b).

It sounds like you know your stuff, and everything will be fabulous. It sounds so fun!!!! I can't wait to do wedding flowers from my yard someday.

I think you could do many of the arrangements the night before.

One of my favorites for arrangements are 'Billy buttons'. Sturdy stems and so cute. And they last for weeks as a cut flower.

I agree: sweet pea will wilt in a hair comb rather quickly. The best flowers for hair combs are the same flowers that are best for drying (yarrow, statice, strawflowers to name a few. Billy buttons would be good also.) But I would avoid any flowers with petals---these would all have risk of wilting)

Cutest boutonniere I've ever seen was made from sea holly (eryngium).

Pic is of my favorite June arrangement I did last summer. I lined the basket with a large ziplock bag. Inserted floral foam. Then flowers. David Austin roses, peonies, and lady's mantle. Covered any evidence of the ziplock bag with moss.

If you use floral foam, start soaking it at least 12 hours before inserting flowers.

You can also submerge all greenery (even hosta leaves) in water for 24 hours before the event to make the foliage last much longer.

Use lots of greenery from your yard such as laurel to really make the flowers stand out. You need much fewer flowers also when using greenery as a filler.

My favorite floral filler is yarrow. which comes in all shades of pink, orange, yellow, red, white.

This message was edited Mar 21, 2013 6:49 AM

Thumbnail by kosk0025
Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

Also remember that (contrary to what is intuitive):
the shorter cut the stem, the longer the flowers actually last.

If you make arrangements the day before, consider placing them outdoors overnight if you have cool nights like we do here in the summer.

Grantville, GA

Very pretty arrangement. I cannot get Lady's Mantle to grow for me!

Salem, OR(Zone 8b)

My lady's mantle self sows like crazy, and one local friend of mine even considers it to be a "weed". Mine is all planted near my concrete driveway---so I'm not sure if it is a lime lover, but I'm guessing that perhaps it could be. It's a May-June bloomer here.

Grantville, GA

I had it when I was in MD but not down in GA. I think planting in the spring was a mistake, it struggled all year then just gave up. I may try it again since I now have a spot with a bit of shade now.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

It all sounds lovely. I think the best flowers for boutonnieres would be cornflower or rose. Typically a groom's boutonniere comes from the bride's bouquet.

Santa Cruz, CA(Zone 9b)

Thank you everyone!

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