Peonies in August…or maybe not

Seasonal Flower Availability for Weddings

Peonies

Peonies

The peony is among the most beautiful blooms in existence. There are dozens of varieties and range in colour from various reds to yellows, whites and of course pinks. The fragrance is bold, yet subtle. They look incredible in arrangements, and yes, also in bridal bouquets. So who wouldn’t want these gorgeous buds as part of their wedding wish list? Well, if they are on your must have list for the big day, I hope you are planning for a June wedding, because peonies have a very limited window for availability. They typically bloom in the late spring to early summer.

Peony and Garden Rose Bridal Bouquet by Foxgloves Flowers

Peonies and Garden Roses: Bridal Bouquet by Foxgloves Flowers

“It is at the edge of a Petal that love waits.”  
-William Carlos Williams

“I love peonies. I had to have them for my own wedding.  I actually planned the ceremony for early June so I was sure to have them!” Colleen O’Farrell (owner of Foxgloves Flowers) told me, but then she is a florist and is passionate about flowers!

Maybe you’re the person who has a definite vision of what your special day will look like, including a specific flower as part of your floral checklist, or maybe the date of your event is not so flexible. Either way, dates and floral wish lists don’t always coincide. Luckily, there are many ways to achieve the look you want even if your desired bloom is not in season.

I’ve been told by a number of professionals that Pinterest (or similar forums) can be a bride’s best friend. Often when we have an idea about what we want our aesthetic to be, it’s not always a solid, thought out plan, but more of a general desired look that can often be achieved in a number of ways. Pinterest can help to create a visual language that is much more effective that wading through a sea of terms like “rustic” or “elegant” that, in reality, mean different things to each individual. “Rustic”, for example, can mean anything from chandeliers and roses all the way to rubber boots and daisies. So throwing out a catch all term and expecting that it will magically describe your perfect day doesn’t always get the results you might have hoped for. Instead, if you can pair that idea with a series of images that communicate to your floral designer what you want, even if the blooms in the images are not available for your particular date, they will better be able to suggest something that will achieve a similar look without having to renegotiate that absolutely perfect venue that you had to offer up your first born child to reserve. So don’t hesitate to bring in your iPad with your “Wedding” board already queued up and ready to go.

Some think love can be measured by the amount of butterflies in their tummy. Others think love can be measured in bunches of flowers, or by using the words 'for ever.' But love can only truly be measured by actions. It can be a small thing, such as peeling an orange for a person you love because you know they don't like doing it. -Marian Keyes

So how does one know what is in season? Well, if you’re lucky enough to be reading this, you’re about to find out. By no means is this a complete list, but it contains some of the most requested items for weddings. The availability may vary depending on suppliers and other extraneous influences, but here is a guideline that should give you some guidelines to help keep things on track and within budget.  You can also check out our “Meaning of flowers” page as it contains a long list of flower availability as well as a little inspiration on the language of flowers!

If you are a January bride, your choices may include:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Gerbera
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Larkspur
  • Liatris
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Paper Whites
  • Ranunculus
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stephanotis
  • Tulips

In February, keep in mind you are sharing your month with everyone else’s significant other, so demand can be high for some blooms. Roses, of course, are most sought after in February, so you can safely anticipate that the cost will reflect that. Thankfully, you have lots to choose from, including:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Gerbera
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Larkspur
  • Liatris
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Magnolia
  • Paper Whites
  • Ranunculus
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Sunflowers
  • Tulips

In March we start to see more spring varieties enter the mix:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Liatris
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Magnolia
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Ranunculus
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Sunflowers
  • Tulip

In April, we see:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Peonies
  • Ranunculus
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stock
  • Sunflowers
  • Tulip

May has another floral event in the form of Mother’s Day, so keep that in mind if your event falls in this month. May availability includes:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Peonies
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stock
  • Sunflower
  • Tulips

June:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Paphionopedilum (slipper)
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Peonies
  • Roses
  • Stock
  • Sunflowers

July:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Lisianthus
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Paphionopedilum (slipper)
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Roses
  • Stock
  • Sunflowers

August: Peonies in August…are just not an option!

  • Alstroemeria
  • Dahlias
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stock
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnia

September:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Dahlias
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Magnolia
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Paphionopedilum (slipper)
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stock
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnia

October:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Freesia
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Liatris
  • Orchid Cymbidium
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stock
  • Sunflowers

November:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Gerbera
  • Iris
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Liatris
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Orchid Polymin (Mini Cymbidium)
  • Paper Whites
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stephanotis
  • Stock
  • Sunflowers

December:

  • Alstroemeria
  • Calla
  • Delphinium
  • Gerbera
  • Kangaroo Paw
  • Larkspur
  • Liatris
  • Lily Casablanca
  • Lily Stargazer
  • Lisianthus
  • Paper Whites
  • Roses
  • Snap Dragon
  • Stephanotis
  • Sunflowers
  • Tulips

As you can see, many varieties such as roses or snap dragons are available throughout the year while others have a limited season. Some of this is dictated by demand, and holidays can have an influence, but often it’s simple biology. We can only outsmart nature if nature allows it. Delicate blooms such as orchids can be finicky at the best of times, and will only bloom 1 to 2 times per year. So if you have something particular in mind, be sure to discuss this with your floral designer. They will either find a solution, or suggest a great alternative.

"As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” -John Lubbock

When I enlisted Colleen at Foxgloves Flowers to create the floral arrangements for my wedding many years ago, I went in with little more than a colour scheme. Okay, with nothing more than a colour scheme! They hadn’t invented Pinterest yet. Even Facebook was still in its infancy! I remember feeling lost and overwhelmed, thinking I was crazy for deciding on a November West Coast Wedding. I sat down with her and basically blurted out “Dark reds and Greens! I don’t know, maybe roses?”  She smiled, and said that she could do that for me. I then watched as she expertly showed me pictures and samples of flowers and greenery while I “ooohed” and “aaahhed” and told her all the things that I liked or didn’t like. Halfway through, I started to wonder if perhaps I was creating some kind of wedding monstrosity! With a great amount of patience, Colleen flashed me another warm smile and assured me that she would make sure everything was beautiful and that my wedding day would in fact NOT be ruined by my panic fuelled choices. I, after all, was not the designer. She was. I left things in her hands for the most part, and the moment I saw the arrangements and bridal bouquet, I realized that all my anxiety had been for naught. They were absolutely stunning! To this day I remember that moment. It was the moment I realized that I could handle anything that day could throw at me.

"There's still something so pure and heartfelt and emotional and genuine about a bouquet of flowers that, even with all the advances of technology and the millions of ways we have to communicate with each other, flowers are still relevant in my opinion.”  
-Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Although peonies in August may not be in the cards, consider what your day is truly about. The celebration is about the joining of two souls. It’s about love, commitment, and devotion. It’s your day to shine. Flowers are the frame around the portrait that is you and your spouse. Your guests will remember that first and foremost. So if circumstances cause you to make a substitution, you can still achieve your vision. Whether you have peonies, English garden roses, dahlias, or ranunculus, you will still have your frame, and it will be gorgeous.

Written by: Cara Baldwin: Author, Photographer, Parent and Self Proclaimed Nerd 

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