Ethical and green wedding planning
Your home-grown wedding flower calendar
Roses are red, violets are blue - but which flowers are ‘green'?
If you know you want local, seasonal flowers for your wedding, you might assume that means settling for common old carnations, clichéd roses or run-of-the-mill chrysanths. But native flowers are just as impressive as any exotic imports - with none of the air miles.
Kate and William started a trend for British bouquets last year, with more and more brides realising a seasonal selection can be every bit as perfect, and best of all, guilt-free.
There's an element of compromise, of course - either on your date, your colour scheme, or your dream bloom. You can't insist on sweet peas in November. With Mother Nature in charge, you will need to be flexible with plenty of Plan Bs (and Cs!).
Some flowers with very short windows are asking for trouble, while various species of sweet peas can be trained to flower between February and summer's end, giving you a greater chance of getting the one you want.
To avoid any disappointment, perhaps just aim for a random mix of what's available at the time, without getting hung up on colours and heights. The effect will be a charming, natural display, as if you had just casually picked them from a country garden.
April / May
Lily of the valley
The first roses
June / July
Late-flowering Michaelmas daisies and Asters
...and why not present them in pumpkins instead of vases as your centrepieces?
Growing your own?
Here are some tips to nip any stress in the bud.
- Over-plant the flowers you desperately couldn't live without. If space is an issue, see if there are any neighbours' gardens lying un-used and ask about garden-sitting. Schemes have popped up recently matching immobile garden-owners with garden-less growers - win/win for everyone.
- Don't panic if your flowers start to bloom early, just remove the buds (and cross your fingers).
- Help certain plants like peonies produce fewer, bigger heads by removing side shoots as they grow.
- Tuck your beloved blooms up in garden frost blankets or plastic sheeting if the weather turns chilly.
- Keep on top of dead-heading, if your plants are flowering for a while before the wedding.
For more helpful hints, soak up this fantastic article by Guardian gardening expert Alys Fowler.
Is it OK to pick wildflowers?
The basic rule of thumb is: planted by nature, yes, planted by people, no. That means no to anything growing in parks, verges, public spaces (anything to do with the council), and sort of yes to anything randomly growing in hedgerows - as long as it isn't a rare species. Just don't pull out any roots!