Wedding Flowers - Knowledgebase Question

Wellesley, MA
Question by celeste9
March 8, 1998
My daughter is getting married Sept. 20 and my friend and I have signed on to grow the table decorations in clay pots over the summer (we live outside of Boston). Here is a list of possible flowers: Baby-blue eyes, fivespot, snapdragon, bluebells, praire gentian, sweet willam, horned violet, clown mixed torenia, petunia, lobelia, pansy, forget-me-not.
If you could choose four to be guaranteed to still be flowering on the 20th which would you choose, when would you plant seed. Finally can you get aspring flower (like johnny jump up) to flower in the fall?


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Answer from NGA
March 8, 1998

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First of all, I can't guarantee anything! But I can make a few suggestions. I'll run down a few things I think are important for table decorations.

First, they shouldn't be too tall, or people can't see over them. (I went to a wedding with gladiolas as the centerpiece--after a half hour all the flowers were on the floor so people could converse!)

I'd suggest something with masses of flowers, rather than just a few. That way, if some of the flowers have gone by, there will be others to replace them.

The plant should be easy to grow and durable--you don't want to worry about a temperamental plant for such an important day!

Of the flowers you mention, I think only petunias and perhaps torenia would be appropriate. Here are a few other suggestions:

First, I'd use wide, shallow clay pots. My first choice for flowers would probably be a low growing flower like alyssum around the edges, and something slightly taller in the middle, like a marigold. (There's a pretty cream-colored marigold named 'French Vanilla'.) Or just plant one impatiens plant in the center of the pot--it will fill out nicely to a mound of flowers. Impatiens would be a good choice, too, because they like a shady spot.Clay pots are notorious for drying out very quickly, so at least plants in the shade would stay moister. (There's a beautiful lilac-colored impatiens called 'Blue Angel' on page 11 of the 1998 Burpee catalog.)

You might also consider herbs--mixing, say, alyssum and thyme. Or English ivy and a low-growing verbena. There are just so many possibilities--I'd suggest you spend a little time looking through gardening books and magazines for inspiration. And be sure to plant up extras, in case some don't thrive!

And, no, you can't force a spring flower to bloom out of season--at least not in any reasonably practical way.



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