I am getting lots of questions from my Floral Arranging 101 students this month in the Northern Hemisphere about sourcing flowers this time of year! It can definitely be tricky and a little frustrating to find wispy, pretty, natural, garden-style materials in the depths of winter. It might be a little more challenging, but you can make inspiring garden-style arrangements this time of year. Here are my 5 tips for winter flower sourcing:
1. Embrace the season. Look around you! If you live in a mild climate like the Pacific Northwest you’ll see a lot of green around you. Consider evergreens like cedar, pine, and fir. Other ideas: bush ivy, boxwood, hebe, laurel, daphne, witch hazel, seeded eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme.
2. Spring flowers! A lot of spring flowers start becoming available in January, as they are grown in greenhouses. Watch for or ask your florist or market for: hyacinths, anemones, tulips, mini daffodils, paperwhites, muscari, poppies, tuberose, and forced fruit branches like quince, cherry, and apple.
3. Citrus! If you live in a cold climate where you can’t find them on the stems, stick two wires (around 16 gauge) through the fruit, cross wise, towards the bottom, and then add floral tape. You may need to tape wires together to make them longer. By wiring the fruit this way, you are creating a stem for it and can use it like you would any other stem. You may need to add supportive greenery around it or use it toward the rim of the vase, as they can be quite heavy. Add more wire if it needs more support (we cover wiring in the class if you’d like to learn more).
4. Grocery shop. Check out your veggie section for bundles of thyme, rosemary, basil, chives and other herbs. These offer a lovely green, soft style to any arrangement. Consider veggies like stems of kale or cabbages.
5. Cut from greenhouse or nursery plants. Take a look at your florist or grocery for hothouse plants you can cut from. I’ve noticed mini daffy, paperwhites, campanula, hyacinths, and more at my local Trader Joe’s this time of year. Check out your nursery too for winter plants you can cut from. Pansies and primroses make super sweet mini hand-tieds. They’ll also have winter blooming camellias and other shrubs like viburnum that could work really well for greens or secondary flowers.
Good luck! I’d love to hear about your winter flower foraging successes! Leave in comments.