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Friday - February 06, 2009

From: New Rochelle, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Native plants for an outdoor wedding in New York
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am planning an outdoor wedding in New Rochelle, NY in May. We would like to use native plants. Can you suggests some that we can use in the bouquets and as potted plants? Thanks


We will certainly give you a list of native plants that will be in bloom in May in New York. However, we can make no promises as to sources for those flowers. If you have access to a cutting garden populated with natives or even an open area where you can pick flowers (always, always with permission of the landowner) then you are in luck. We will give you a list of native plant nurseries in your general area, some of which might have potted blooming native flowers. Beyond that, most florists do not carry wildflowers, although some might be able to order them. If you were planning to grow the plants yourself, it is probably too late to start for this year. In your USDA Hardiness Zone 6, the area will be in early Spring, and most flowering plants are still a month or so away from beginning to bloom.

Greenhouse-raised plants are a good possibility, but, again, this is a lengthy process, and you will need to find someone with a greenhouse who already is raising native blooming plants. We would suggest that your first call be to the native plant nurseries in your area, asking about the possibility of purchasing blooming plants in time for your wedding. They could then order them from their suppliers to be available at the appropriate date, and suggest some good choices.

We will go to our Recommended Species section, select New York on the map, and then "Herbs" (herbaceous blooming plants) under Habit and "May" under Bloom Time. When you follow the links to each plant, note the bloom time range is from the southern United States to the North. For instance, Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) is a native to both New York and Texas. The bloom time range is given as April to September. That means it will be blooming here in Texas in April but likely not until July in New York.

We'll go through the list generated by that process and select what we think are the best possibilities for the wedding you are planning. You can always repeat the process and make your own choices. You can get the list of native plant nurseries mentioned above by going to Native Plant Suppliers, typing in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environmental consultants in your general area. They will all have contact information and you can inquire if they might be able to help you.


Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) - perennial, white, pink, blooms late April to Early July

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine) - perennial, red, pink, yellow, blooms February to July

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - perennial, yellow, blooms April to June

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - perennial, red, blooms May to October

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine) - perennial, blue, blooms May and June

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm) - perennial, red, blooms May to October

Penstemon digitalis (talus slope penstemon) - perennial, white, blooms May to July

Viola pedata (birdfoot violet) - perennial, blue, purple, blooms March to June

Achillea millefolium

Aquilegia canadensis

Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia cardinalis

Lupinus perennis

Monarda didyma

Penstemon digitalis

Viola pedata








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