By Maria Price
Couples who want a wedding with a low carbon footprint, occasionally ask me to supply flowers from my gardens for their event. It’s an environmentally conscious alternative to traditional florists who source their flowers from far away places like North Carolina, California or even South America—especially roses. Consider the amount of fuel used to ship flowers that far. There are a lot of local cut flower growers in Maryland, of which I am one.
The variety of locally grown flowers is very impressive, just as impressive as our locally grown fruits and vegetables, which can be found at the numerous farmers markets around the state. The Maryland Department of Agriculture has two online resources that include local cut flower growers, marylandgrownflowers.com and marylandsbest.maryland.gov.
If you have a wedding coming up, there are many flowers you can grow yourself, especially if the wedding is more than a year away. Starting with spring bulbs, there are early, mid-season and late-blooming bulbs. The early ones start in March and the latest ones will bloom into May. Grow tulips in containers, so voles don’t eat the bulbs. The double flowering peony tulips are beautiful and come in a gorgeous array of colors. One called Angelique stands out, as it is a double white infused with soft pink. Daffodils or narcissus can all be planted in the ground as nothing eats them because they’re toxic. Large and small-flowered narcissuses blend well in a bouquet. The other great thing about bulb flowers is that they can be kept for about a month under refrigeration at 40 degrees with a preservative in the water. Cut them at their peak, when they have just opened.
The Josee and Evangeline varieties of lilacs will bloom before the common lilacs do, and the late-blooming pink varieties known as Canada lilacs will bloom into late May.
May is the season for old-fashioned heirloom roses to bloom as well as the hybrid tea roses. Even though heirloom roses don’t last long, they have a wonderful fragrance that permeates the air. The Cecile Bruner is a large rose variety that looks quite stunning on a fence or archway. This light pink rose blooms with hundreds of small flowers that perfume the air and are lovely in a floral bouquet.
Sweet Williams, peonies, irises, zinnias, marigolds, lavender, viburnums and hydrangeas will carry you into the fall with a gorgeous array of flowers that work well for weddings.
The changes to save the environment from climate change have to come from every individual person doing their share to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels. This is just one small way you can make a difference, by paying attention to where you spend your dollars and the type of goods you purchase.