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Seasonality Series: Buy Locally Grown Flowers!

Buying local flowers opens up some amazing doors when it comes to your wedding flowers. From economical filler flowers to statement focal blooms that will knock your socks off, locally grown flowers are the bee's knees.
Bouquet includes: Locally grown snapdragons, clematis, garden roses, veronica, yarrow, campanula and mint. Photo by Eric Benchimol Photography

Buying local flowers opens up some amazing doors when it comes to your wedding flowers. From economical filler flowers to statement focal blooms that will knock your socks off, locally grown flowers are the bee’s knees. And this year I am amped to be a buyer at The Local Flower Collective – a Toronto-based group of growers and florists committed to using local product. The local scene has just been getting better and better so I can’t wait to have more access! 

The following are reasons highlight why I’m so excited to be joining The Local Flower Collective: 

    • I love using stuff that would be hard to source from my usual wholesalers. That would include heirloom garden roses, speciality snapdragons that are more delicate and ruffly than the standard snaps, scented geranium foliage, or forsythia greens.
    • Certain varieties do not transport well, so local is the best option. Dahlias are a perfect example of flowers that last well when bought locally, but bruise easily and wilt quickly when being transported longer distances.
    • Some varieties that have very high yields will be super affordable. When they come into season, farmers have tons of stems to sell and can usually give a better price on their product. These include snaps, scabiosa, standard dahlias, cosmos, Queen Anne’s Lace and many others. Please remember that not all locally grown stuff will be “cheap”!
    • I love to meet and support people who are as flower-obsessed as I am. “When you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance.”… Maybe you’ve seen this floating around on Instagram or Pinterest but I can tell you it’s true. I do a little happy dance when you book me for your wedding and I’m pretty sure my flower growers celebrate every bucket they sell too.

There is one big caveat when it comes to buying local… we live in Canada and it sometimes feels like we are dealing with winter for half the year! Our Canadian climate means we have a shorter window to really take advantage of local blooms. On average, you can expect some locally grown options to be available from June to October with varieties changing as the season progresses. Of course, every year is different and climate change means we need to plan with caution. In 2017 I was expecting to use only locally grown flowers for a July 2nd wedding but the cold and wet spring/summer meant there were few local options available. It was a total bummer but a great lesson to always plan with caution.

If you want to capitalize on all the good parts of using local flowers, the key is being open and flexible with flower choices. Whenever I meet with a couple to talk wedding flowers, I have lots of potential flower options floating around in my head. I never want to “sell” you on something if there’s a chance I won’t be able to get it or that it won’t work with your budget but I do want couples to see that there are lots of incredible possibilities.

A while back, I made a controversial challenge to the age-old wisdom “save money by buying seasonal flowers.” All things being constant, I still think one of the best ways to save money on flowers is to buy flowers that can be grown efficiently year-round. However, using only standard flowers can mean the overall look will be…standard. I don’t think this is an aspiration for any of my clients, which is why I am always trying to use a mixture of standard blooms with local/seasonal specialties. If you are flexible and trusting, then I have the freedom to take advantage of seasonal specialities and locally grown gems. These will be the unique touches that make your bouquets and arrangements different from any other couple’s flowers.

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