Sourcing your wedding flowers seasonally will give you incredibly beautiful blooms and reduce the carbon footprint of growing and distributing these flowers. But what flowers are in season during your wedding month? We are excited to present this seasonal flowers blog series, written by Guild member Natalie Huntley. Natalie is the owner and florist behind Rabbit Foot Florals, and we asked her to share which blooms we can expect to see growing during each season in North Carolina.
The information in this post pertains mostly to the Triangle and central regions of North Carolina, but though regions like the mountains and the coast will have slightly different dates, the varieties of flowers that one can find from local growers are mostly the same.
The information in this post pertains mostly to the Triangle and central regions of N, but though regions like the mountains and the coast will have slightly different dates, the varieties of flowers that one can find from local growers are mostly the same.
Spring is a special time of year that tells a story of plants waking up from winter. Spring equinox is on March 21st, and by then, longer days of sunshine (if it’s not raining) are starting to be enjoyed. Having a wedding during the early part of spring (March 21-early April) in North Carolina is such a beautiful time to celebrate tender and fragrant bulbs like tulips, narcissus, muscari, and fritillaria. A full range of colors can be achieved with these blooms- think peachy narcissus, a full range of colored tulips, purple fritillaria, and blue, pink, purple, and white muscari.
Figure 1 mid March tulip
Figure 2 chromacolor narcissus
Locally speaking, early spring is also THE time for the increasingly popular ranunculus and anemones to shine. Anemones are more likely to begin blooming towards the end of winter (think late February), however, the stems will be shorter and grow taller as the plant matures. Ranunculus slowly begin in early March and can go through mid-May, just depending on how many successive plantings are done and how hot it is.
Figure 3 Ranunculus
It’s worth mentioning, too, that the ever-whimsical Icelandic and Colibri poppies begin during this time too! These are especially important to source locally in order to ensure the longest vase life, as they can be ephemeral once blooming. Poppies are a favorite because not only is the flower often artistically streaked with an array of colors, but the stems often have a lot of character, twisting and bending every which way. You’re most likely to get these stems from local growers since they are difficult to pack and ship without breaking.
Figure 4 Icelandic Poppies
Hellebores are another early spring must, ranging in unique flower colors like green, deep purple, and almost black. They begin blooming in the winter; however, they aren’t quite ready to be picked until the pollen drops and the seed pod begins forming in the center of the flower. This process is known as antiquing. Once this happens (late-March through mid-April), the stems can last for a couple of weeks (possibly longer if kept out of the sun) and can even be used in wearables like boutonnieres and corsages.
Figure 5 anemone, hellebore, and ranunculus
Another cherished and unique-to-spring offering are flowering branches. Some that come to mind are redbuds, cherry blossoms, pussy willow, peach blossoms, and dogwood. Flowering branches bring architectural lines to a floral design with pops of color and sweet fragrances from the flowers. They are a sure sign of spring waking up, starting mid-March through the end of March. They are stunning on their own, or can be used to add interest to the overall design.
Figure 6 redbud detail
As we dive into mid-April through mid-May, seemingly fairytale flowers and foliage like foxgloves, Solomon seal, heuchera, bachelor buttons, columbine, nigella, lace flower, sweet peas, delphinium, clematis, stock, agrostemma, larkspur, Baptisia, and snap dragons are abundant and stretching tall towards the sky. It’s incredible to see just how tall the local growers can get their spike flowers like delphinium, snapdragons, and foxglove to grow.
Figure 7 April arrangement featuring all local blooms
The ever fragrant, pillowy, fluffy peonies begin mid to late April through mid-May. There’s really nothing like a fresh, locally grown peony. The fragrance and color are much richer because they are left to develop longer on the plant instead of being picked at an early stage and shipped. Sarah Bernhardt’s are a popular variety with tons are ruffles, ranging from pale pink to darker pink in the center. Japanese varieties come in a range of colors from yellow to purple with a single or double row of petals centered around curling staminodes (the pollen carrying part of the flower). I imagine this is a complete playground for bees.
Figure 8 Itoh yellow peony
The single most shipped flower in the world is the rose. They are often shipped from central America and parts of Africa close to the equator. Mid to late spring is the best time to get roses locally. Staying true to a common theme about local flowers is that you’ll be able to get the more ephemeral varieties that are just not shippable - anything from delicately small fairy roses to the highly sought-after David Austin English roses.
Figure 9 Tea rose
Although it’s possible to get a growing variety of flowers at any point in the year due to shipping, you will definitely get the highest quality if you ask for yours flowers to be sourced locally. Not only are you supporting local farmers who dedicate vast amounts of time researching and perfecting the art of growing something so exquisite, you will also be telling a story of the season. From the photos of your wedding, it will be obvious what season your celebration took place by the colors and varieties of flowers used. Near your anniversary, it will be possible to get the same flowers again. It’s certainly true that the flowers that look best together are the ones that bloom at the same time, imitating a garden.
Rabbit Foot Florals has been operated by owner Natalie Huntley since May 2018 near downtown Durham, NC. At Rabbit Foot Florals, the mission is to combine a natural, garden-inspired style with flowers grown in North Carolina. With sustainability in the forefront of her designs, Natalie is passionate about using seasonally available flowers. Predominately a small wedding and event florist, designing for 20-30 weddings and events yearly, Natalie also works with other local florists, creates floral designs for styled photoshoots,