Seasonal Flower Guide with Villanelle Floral Company // Seattle Elopement Florist
My love for flowers began in my grandmother’s garden. She grew carnations that smelled like cinnamon sticks and poppies the exact color of her mid-70’s orange shag carpet. I remember her bare feet and the kitchen shears she used to snip the stems; the water glass she filled with delicate blooms. When I began my journey into floral design, I knew that each design should be as lovingly and respectfully tended as my grandmother’s simple kitchen arrangements.
From early morning trips to the market and long walks gathering wild blooms and branches, each design by Villanelle Floral Company is a meditation on the natural beauty of flowers. Each arrangement is a testament to the power and delicacy of our beautiful earth; to the richness of the soil so similar to that under your feet; to the diligence of each farmer that toiled and loved in labor for each bloom; to the wiley and flawless design of nature. It is this foundation of love for our planet that drives my desire to use local, seasonal flowers as often as possible.
Pinterest and wedding blogs, while so helpful in the dreaming and planning phases of any event, can lead to some hurdles when it comes to flower selection. In my one-on-one consultations, it is very important for me to assess the needs and dreams of my clients, while helping them understand the importance of selecting flowers that are in-season and not shipped from halfway around the country or the world.
A core tenant of Villanelle Floral Company is sustainability and the use of ethically-grown florals. This means that 90% of all florals used in any design are grown in the Pacific Northwest, reducing the carbon footprint that can be so heavy in this industry. Often, flowers purchased at large wholesalers are grown in another country and shipped across the world, leaving a heavy toll on the environment and reducing the lifespan and beauty of the blooms. In addition, local farms are more likely to be dedicated to using sustainable growing practices that care for the longevity of the soil without the use of harmful chemicals and toxins. These practices also support the farmers themselves, unlike large growing operations abroad that often underpay their workers and utilize damaging growing and harvesting techniques.
Choosing seasonal flowers means that you get the best blooms possible; blooms that suit the environment of your event rather than stand in stark contrast to it. It means that your flowers are likely grown ways that suit them, rather than being forced to bloom when they aren’t ready, which in turn means that they are as beautiful and sturdy as possible. A flower forced to grow outside its natural environment is obvious; it is wilted, broken, and prone to dying within days of being cut. You want to enjoy your flowers for days, not hours!
The best advice I can give clients when it comes to flower selection is to be open-minded. Leave room for substitutions, and trust that part of why you are paying a professional designer is not just for their artistic abilities, but also for their accumulated knowledge of the industry when it comes to choosing the most beautiful flowers for your day.
The greatest gift to florists in the Seattle area is the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market; a farmer-owned cooperative providing the best flowers and foliage to the floral community possible. I do most of my product shopping here, and use their weekly availability sheets as a guide to what’s in season and fresh. Most of the product available here comes from farms in Washington, with select items coming from Oregon and California. The Market put together an extensive guide to flower availability, broken down by month, with beautiful photos of product they carry. I highly recommend checking it out here.
Winter in the PNW can feel limiting as far as flower availability, but it really inspires creativity in my designs! Expect more muted color palettes (unless you love the red and green of Christmas!); golden, cream, earthy green and deep maroons. I tend to rely on dried flowers and interesting foliage, especially things like golden fern, flowering quince, tallowberry, and shapely branches. Roses are still available from California, as well as ranunculus, lisianthus, tulips, and freesia. Some odd favorites of mine are ornamental kale, foxglove, thistle, protea, and veronica.
After the long and rainy months of winter, my florist and gardener heart explodes in the spring. Flower availability feels endless; color palettes are bright and cheery, and everything smells SO DAMN GOOD. If you are a peony lover, spring is your season! My absolute favorite spring blooms are the delicate, paper-thin and lanky stems like poppies, scabiosa, tulips, anemones, ranunculus, daffodils, and sweet peas, as well as their full-bodied cousins like lilacs, dogwood blossoms, and garden roses. Odd favorites are eremurus, foxglove, allium, protea, and artichoke. I tend to use herbs as foliage; sage, rosemary, basil, geranium, and cherry branches.
Summer is truly a celebration of the life-force of the sun. Hearty staples join their spring counterparts in these months; sunflowers, zinnias, gladiolus, marigolds, and dahlias. My favorite foliages of the PNW start to appear in the early summer; hops, clematis vines, amaranth, and raspberry leaves. The color palettes are as bright as the days and seemingly endless.
In the first few weeks of PNW autumn, some summer flowers are sticking it out; dahlias, hydrangea, and zinnias are available for most of September, and are replaced by heartier flowers like mums, marigolds, and ornamental kale by October. My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE foliage makes its debut in the last few weeks of summer and sticks around through October and November–the ever-incredible pampas grass. My designs in autumn tend to be dramatic and moody; dark or muted palettes, vining clematis and trailing amaranth, and cotton are some of my staples.
No matter the season, the Pacific Northwest is a show-stopper; full of life and bursting with blooms. Choosing seasonal flowers is an exercise in trust and good stewardship; if you’ve chosen the Collective to curate your day, you’ve already established trust in the expertise of our team. With us and Mother Nature on your side, your day is sure to live up to all your expectations!