Wedding foliage, or green as we often call it in the industry, is often overlooked. Perhaps used as the perfect foil for the wonder and beauty of popular wedding flowers such as peonies, roses, delphiniums and lisianthus, or sadly not used at all amongst the mass of flowers fighting for admiration.

Wedding foliage adds texture, interest, depth and movement to arrangements, which can sometimes be hard to achieve using flowers alone. Foliage can be delicate, wispy, waxy, furry, spiky, powdery, strong, subtle, seasonal and scented, and shades vary from the zingiest lime to the darkest forest green, almost silvery white to the grey/blue of a stormy sky. Some foliage works well with blues and a cool colour palette, some with opulent jewel-like colours and others with warm autumnal shades. Foliage is so very versatile, so why wouldn’t you use it at your wedding?

Bride and Groom Behind Foliage

Foliage Wedding Bouquets

Last year I had a bride who was celebrating her marriage in the grounds of a fabulous farmhouse in Surrey. Whilst she had a very bright and bejewelled style of wedding flowers in mind as a theme, she wanted a purely foliage wedding bouquet. This is not an opportunity that often comes the way of us florists, and I jumped at the chance!

Wedding Foliage Bouquet

As she didn’t want it to be overly green, as a base foliage we used a variety of eucalyptus. This is my main ‘go to’ foliage for nearly everything, unless the shades of blue/grey will jar with the flower choice. There are so many varieties, but my favourites are cinerea, parvifolia and populus. Other foliage we used in her wedding bouquet included…

  • Panicum (fountain grass). Light green in colour, it’s great for creating that wispy, airy look to any design, but falls nicely so works well in looser bridal bouquets.
  • Asparagus Plumosus (asparagus fern). Possibly the most delicate looking foliage we use, but watch those stems – they bite! We used the long trailing variety to create fall to the bouquet. Although it’s a traditional mid-green colour, it is so ethereal it’s almost transparent.
  • Senecio Maritimer/Dusty Miller. A white hued, flocked leaf which is satisfying to touch. It craves water so florists have to use every trick in the book to keep this one going in a bouquet.
  • Eryngium/Sea Holly. Often known as thistle in the trade and to our customers, though it’s not. It’s native spot is in sand dunes, and it comes in a variety of hues from silvery green through to blue.

Close-Up of Foliage in Wedding Bouquet

Other Good Varieties of Wedding Foliage

Whilst the varieties of foliage above are amongst my favourites and work well for wedding bouquets, there are some other stars of the show which work well in table centres and much larger installations…

  • Salal, Dutch (hard) ruscus and palms. Great base greens for larger designs such as pedestals and larger structural installations.
  • Italian (soft) ruscus, pittosporum and pistache. Fabulous foliage for giving shape to long and low table designs and general wedding table centres, no matter how large or small.

There are so many more varieties of good wedding foliage I could mention, which are dependent on the time of year and the look you’re trying to achieve. I have the privilege of ordering in foliage and flowers from the auctions in Holland and other parts of the world, via my wholesaler. I’m also very fortunate to have the opportunity to use a lot of foliage from within my own environment, which helps keep the carbon footprint down a tiny fraction.

My old college tutor once said “florists should place flowers to give enough room for the butterflies to dance around them”. This quote is always in the forefront of my mind in everything I create. Foliage can not only provide the stage for the flowers and butterflies to perform, but is rather happy to be called in as the understudy once in a while too.

Guest post by Gaynor Lawson of Bailey and Blossom

Images from Sarah Elliott Photography