A lot of my students ask where to find flowers if they live in a small town or rural area without a lot of vegetation. Here are a few of my suggestions on sourcing flowers for my Flower Arranging 101 course:
Grocery Stores: Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are two favorites. You’d be surprised what you might find and what will mix well with foraged greens or garden flowers. Don’t forget the veggie section! Herb like parsley, dill and sage work really well in arrangements and sometimes a head of cabbage or kale will also do the trick!
Florists: Ask your florist if you can order bulk or in grower’s bunches — they might offer a deal.
Wholesale Flower Market: If you have one in your city (like the SF Flower Mart) and can get in with a friend, this is an amazing resource. In some cities they are public and in others you have to have a business license to shop.
Your garden or a friend’s garden: You could also offer to pay for a few stems from a neighbor’s garden.
Foraging: Find greens or wildflowers from local parks or meadows, but steer clear of protected wildflower areas. Try to clip kindly — don’t clip off an entire plant.
Farmer’s Markets: Find your closest farmer’s market and get to know the farmers. Often the veggie farmers have a small plot of flowers or the flower vendors can bring special orders for you.
Plant Nursery or plant section of Home Depot: Consider buying a few plants from a plant nursery and trimming off a few stems. This will really help add that effortless look to your arrangements. I’ve done this so many times when I am shooting and styling overseas in unfamiliar locations and it’s a great way to get a natural, garden look to your arrangements.
Last week I was staying way out in the country in a town with one stoplight that had little vegetation and was pretty dry and brown. Let’s just say there weren’t many choices but I needed flowers for my grandmother’s 95th birthday party! First I tried the farmer’s market but there were no flower vendors. Then I tried the two grocery stores in town, there were some bunches of carnations. Had it been winter, I would have grabbed those and cut them short for some scented bouquets but carnations just seemed sad in the middle of summer and for a party at a little ranch. So, I went around town and foraged flowers. I went to some abandoned lots, clipped from the roadside, and clipped grass from some meadows. Everything I clipped was wild and from property that wasn’t maintained. I found some gorgeous wild sweet peas, grasses, cornflowers, and more. I supplemented with some herbs from my family’s garden like dill, oregano, and flowering cilantro.
I was so pleased with the results! It was exciting to make something beautiful with really no budget or resources. Be creative! Combine sources. Don’t be afraid to mix grocery store flowers with garden clippings. Plan ahead if you can, many farmer’s market vendors and florists will work with you to help you find what you need.
Want more tips like these on how to source and arrange flowers? There’s still time to join the September session of my Floral Arranging 101 online class!