In our recent blog, Four Tips for a Spectacular Garden Party, we shared our party planning process through easy-to-follow tips to hosting a successful event in your garden. One decorating tip that caught the eye of our staff and guests alike was the addition of native flower arrangements. Due to popular demand, we’re sharing some of our species inspiration so that you, too, can create your own beautiful arrangements sourced straight from your garden.
Now, I have to start with this qualifier: Please, don’t pick wildflowers from parks or natural areas – those should always be left for the bees and butterflies! But, if you have native plants in your own yard, taking a few here and there for some lovely arrangements, should still leave plenty for the pollinators! These flower arrangements are meant as inspiration for what to do with garden cuttings after regular trimming and seasonal care.
Sweet oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides)
Sweet oxeye is a perennial fondly called ‘false sunflower.’ It produces small bright golden-yellow flowers late summer to early fall. The flowers occur on long delicate stalks that can add height to any flower arrangements. A striking flower on its own, this perennial pairs well with textured green foliage.
Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
Nannyberry is a shrub that produces clusters of delicate fragrant white flowers in the spring and clusters of ripening berries in the fall that turn from green to deep purple. The dark green stiff leaves of the Nannyberry also make great greenery accents in arrangements. This shrub provides multi-seasonal arrangement options.
Giant blue hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Giant blue hyssop is a perennial that produces small, fuzzy, spiked purple-blue flowers in summer which nestle on top of tall stalks within opposite V-shaped leaves. Their upright form, unique shape and sturdy stems make them a great accent to any flower arrangement.
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Purple coneflower is a hardy perennial that produces large purple-to-pink flowers. A popular ingredient in plant medicine and a favourite among pollinators, its sturdy stalks and large eye-catching flowers make it a great centerpiece or accent to any flower arrangement.
Common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Common ninebark is a shrub with stunning white flowers in the springtime and golden pink fruit pods in the summer. These fruit pods may even persist into winter as brown delicate papery seed clusters. The texture of the fruit pods and their varying colours make it an outstanding accent for the base of any flower arrangement. This shrub provides multi-seasonal arrangement options.
Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)
Mountain mint is a fragrant perennial that produces dense clusters of tiny white flowers (often found packed with pollinators) in the summer. The dense leaves, which give the fine spikey appearance of spruce branches, also add texture and fullness to any flower arrangement.
Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Red osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
Red osier dogwood is a shrub that produces flat white-topped flower clusters in the spring, white waxy berries in the summer and maintains striking red braches over the winter. The white drooping berry clusters provide texture around the base of arrangements, and its branches are popular winter décor. This shrub provides multi-seasonal arrangement options.
Native gardens can provide seasonal interest year round. Like what you see? You can plant these species in your own yard. We offer themed native shrubs and native perennial garden kits, perfect for any budding home florist!
Bonus Tip: This technique can also be used to give undesirable weeds and invasive species a new purpose. Pick these species (like burdock, pictured here), before they go to seed and enjoy the blooms by including them in your arrangements!
Kaja McDonald is the Stewardship Assistant at LEAF.
LEAF’s Urban Forest Demonstration Gardens and the LEAF Learning Garden are supported by Ontario Power Generation’s Biodiversity Program and the Toronto Transit Commission.