Most couples hire Pretty Flowers in the summer as it’s a popular time to get married. Summer in Maine is arguably the BEST place to be June-October. Generally, the weather is perfect but when we do have heat wave, they always seem to fall on the day of an event. As a wedding florist, the weather (temperature and humidity) can have its challenges. Most dramatic floral displays are designed without water- in a sense, that’s what makes them dramatic. They’re defying what’s natural or common. Amy and I do our best to use biodegradable materials when designing with water, but when a water source isn’t a possibility, we rely on some tried and tested greens that hold up-even on hot days.
1. Southern Smilax (Jackson Vine)
This AMAZING vine grows down South (south of Maine, that is!) Lush with a capital L. It’s become one of our favorite choices for event work on a grand scale. We strung this very forgiving and hardy vine along the entrance to Krista and Victor’s clear top tent from Exeter Tents. Even in the heat of this July wedding, this greenery did not wilt (remember, it’s from the south).
Dress it up, dress it down- this gem does it all. Olive branches can make an event casual, light and airy but can also make a wedding glamorous and sophisticated. Olive has a silvery underside which reflects light-creating depth and interest for great photos. We used cases of Olive branches for Allison and Ben’s wedding at The Black Point Inn in Scarborough, Maine. We created a thick base of Olive on our massive Chuppah and then covered it with gorgeous flowers.
One of Amy’s favorites- Gardenia foliage is a richly colored green and has a glossy finish. This foliage can also have petite leaves- perfect for Boutonnieres and corsage work. If you want a sharp looking bouquet like the one Amy designed below, pair this greenery with crisp white flowers like Sweet Peas, Garden Roses and Peonies.
4. Sea Star & Umbrella Fern
These are some of my personal favorites when it comes to ferns. They are a wonderfully light in form but rich in texture. Sea Star Fern almost reminds me of the skeletal remains of a fern dug up by some archaeologist somewhere. These ferns are the perfect accent when paired with greens with broader leaves like Eucalyptus or Dusty Miller or in this case, some of Amy’s Japanese Maple branches.
5. Salal (Lemon Leaf)
Lemon Leaf is the first green I became familiar with when I started designing 13 years ago. It’s rugged and dark green and has a nice lemon shape (hence the name). It holds its own out of water and makes a wonderfully thick garland as shown below. Brianna and Aaron chose to have us drape the garland over the arbor at Point Lookout in Northport, Maine so that it could be reused after their ceremony. At the reception, they were able to repurpose the garland by laying it out on their long head table with no trouble at all.
6. Eucalyptus, Silver Dollar or Seeded
There’s a reason why this green is everywhere these days. Eucalyptus has gained in popularity for its versatility and form, beautiful blue gray color, its soft fragrance and how well it holds up with event work. Kate and Mitch’s wedding in Portland, Maine had 18 Farm Tables and required at least 150 feet of ‘Silver Dollar’ Eucalyptus garland. Henry + Mac captured the drape of the Eucalyptus perfectly in this image below.
Business in the front. Party in the back. This is a wonderful, thick green, best used for larger pieces, mantles and garlands. Occassionally, you can find smaller leaves at the tips of the branches, that are great for smaller centerpieces. Admittedly, we don’t have enough of an opportunity to use this fine specimen (as evidenced by the random photo I found online) because we book most weddings in the season when Magnolia is not available at the Chelsea Flower Market. However, we do use it in our Thanksgiving floral and winter indoor (and outdoor) decorations.
7. Hanging Amaranthus
I had too many pictures to choose from. All you need to know is that this dramantic “green” is just that. DRAMATIC. Commonly referred to as “Love Lies Bleeding” this plant/flower/accent does the job. It’s best used when it can hang loose. Let gravity do the work! We try and support our local flower farmers as much as we can during the growing season. Lucky for us, Maine is home to…15 flower farms? (Actual statistic pending until I get confirmation from MOFGA).
9. Bay Leaf
The first thing you’ll notice about this green is the earthy, minty scent. This is not the kind for cooking, by the way. This Bay Leaf has long, narrow leaves. A nice alternative to ‘Diamond’ Eucalyptus because it’s more green than gray. I love the structure of this green and how well it holds up out of water. We used Bay Leaf for this little flower girl’s crown. Simple and sweet.
10. Italian Ruscus
The LBD in everyone’s closet. Cost effective. Glossy. Richly colored. Pointed leaves. Holds up without water. Ruscus is versatile. Wonderful for boutonniere and corsage work but also perfect for large designs. Ruscus also makes a great, simple garland*. A few bunches of the long stuff laid along the centerline of your table will create an easy tablescape. *Weight that lightweight Ruscus down- with candles, flowers…something. If the slightest breeze comes through your tent, Ruscus will not stay put.