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Friday - March 26, 2010

From: Baraboo, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildflowers for bridal bouquet in Baraboo WI
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hi! I have recently been asked to assist a bride in choosing wild flowers for her wedding bouquets. I am wondering if you can recommend some simple, long stemmed wildflowers that will hold up well for the day. She's wanting to carry them simply with a single ribbon to bundle them. My concern is how to make them look good and last the whole day! Thanks! (Northern Wisconsin)


Before you do anything else, read our How-To Article on Wildflower Arrangements. Although this pertains mainly to arrangements for the home, the same guidelines for cutting and preserving should apply.

Next, we need to talk about the date of the wedding. That will have everything to do with what wildflowers will be available. Where were you planning to harvest these wildflowers? There are laws against going onto private land and taking anything without permission from the landowner, even flowers. Most state highway departments frown on picking flowers or taking plants from their right-of-way.  They may have been planted specifically to beautify that highway and provide seeds for future flowering. Plus, it is hazardous to be out picking flowers along highways. Picking flowers from rare or endangered plants is illegal just about everywhere.  Most national and state parks prohibit the picking of flowers or removal of plant life within their boundaries.

So, let's rethink this process. Instead of looking for wildflowers, look for blooming native plants. What you need are gardeners who have cutting gardens of native plants.  You're still going to have to have permission, obviously, but that would be a much more efficient way to get what you want. They will be more accessible, probably in better condition because of the care taken of them, and can be picked at the optimum time of day. After all, what are native garden plants but wild plants that have been domesticated? How are you going to find these gardeners? Contact area garden clubs or the Botanical Club of Wisconsin, Wisconsin's Native Plant Society.  We also found a site Native Plant Nurseries and Restoration Consultants in Wisconsin that might have a list of resources. For instance, some native plant nurseries have fields of blooming flowers that they are raising for seeds and display. For a small charge, you might be allowed to pick flowers that you need. If you go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box, you will get a list of native plant seed companies, nurseries and landscape consultants in your general area. All have contact information and may be able to help you. You might also try consulting local florists who have probably been asked for "just picked wildflower bouquets" before and can offer advice. 

We are going to go to our Recommended Species and click on Wisconsin on the map; we will then select "herbs" (herbaceous flowering plants) and click on Narrow Your Search, which will give us a list of  94, from which we will pick a few examples that we think would be suitable. You can follow each plant link to the page on that particular plant and note the times it ordinarily blooms, its size and so forth. You can go back and repeat the search for yourself, checking on the month you need those flowers and even the colors you are looking for, but these two requirements will limit your list to fewer possibilities. 

Wildflowers Native to Wisconsin for Cutting:

Campanulastrum americanum (American bellflower) - 3-4 ft. tall, annual, blooms blue, purple June to August

Caltha palustris (yellow marsh marigold) - 1 to 2 ft., perennial, blooms yellow April and May

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - 1 to 3 ft., perennial, blooms yellow April to June

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - 2 to 5 ft., perennial, blooms pink, purple April to September

Helianthus strumosus (paleleaf woodland sunflower) - to 7 ft., perennial, blooms yellow July to September

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - 1 to 6 ft., perennial, blooms red May to October

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia) - 2 to 3 ft., perennial, blooms blue July to October

Penstemon grandiflorus (large beardtongue) - 2 to 3 ft., perennial, blooms pink, purple May and June

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) - 2 to 2 ft., annual, blooms yellow June to October

Symphyotrichum ericoides (white heath aster) - blooms white, pink, yellow, blue August to October

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Campanulastrum americanum

Caltha palustris

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Helianthus strumosus

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia siphilitica

Penstemon grandiflorus

Rudbeckia hirta

Symphyotrichum ericoides








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