Hawk Hill is home to many flowers and flowering plants, but by late summer/mid fall there’s not much that hasn’t gone dormant or to seed, so my vases are usually empty. One day I realized that even though my flowerbeds were empty, there were lots of colorful and unique plants- even weeds- on the property that could provide interest in a vase, and maybe I could use these native plants to create beautiful “flower” arrangements for free.

I began cautiously- taking the lead from some magazines I’d seen- and snipped some of the delicate blossoms from my gigantic sage plant. Adding fronds from fennel balanced out the blossoms sweetly:

herb bouquet in my studio featuring sage blossoms and fennel

An herb bouquet of sage blossoms and fennel basking in a sunny spot in my studio.

hh_blog_garden5.15_3870

 

Pleased with that result, I jumped at the opportunity to be even more creative when I had a big group of house guests come in the fall.

A chive blossom is both edible and a lovely study, placed in a bud vase.
A chive blossom makes lovely study, placed in a bud vase.

With a large bucket and strong scissors in hand, I walked the perimeter of my property (which is, on three sides, a hedgerow with a lot of wild growth) taking cuttings of plants, branches, blossoms, and berries that looked visually interesting. (If you do this, you’ll want to make sure you know how to recognize any poisonous plants native to your particular geography!)

After collecting clippings, I spread them out on newspapers on a large table in my garage, gathered a few vases, and started arranging my non-flower arrangements. Basic flower arranging rules still applied: countering tall with short, balancing from side to side, contrasting colors throughout, etc. Unique to my “weed bouquets” was that instead of balancing blossom colors and styles, I was balancing shades of green with lighter shades of green, delicate vines with more robust branches.





My “how to make a weed bouquet” process:

  1. Grab a bucket and, being careful to avoid thorns and poisonous plants, begin to collect bits of growth 10-18 inches long. Look for interesting flora, but don’t ignore less flashy growth because it’s ordinary. Common greens can make nice filler or may even carry a particular beauty when placed in an indoor arrangement.
  2. Gather vase(s) and spread out your specimens on a large work surface so you can see what you are working with. (Outdoors or on a covered surface is ideal. Weeds are successful because they are good as spreading seed! If you’ve collected anything that’s gone to seed, it may drop a lot of debris during this process.)
  3. Work tallest to shortest, center to outside. (in other words, place big stuff in your vase first, then progressively add shorter pieces that compliment around the outside edges of that center section, then add another circle of shorter, etc)
  4. If you have particularly delicate branches, like branches with berries still attached, save till last, and then gently add.
  5. Play and rearrange, till you love it!

 

 

Flower arrangements made with weeds, greens, and landscape clippings

Late summer weed bouquets in Missouri. I wish I could narrate the native plants I used for this bouquet, but I don’t know the names of most. Furry sage leaves and delicate fennel seed pods are included, as well as clippings from my planted landscaping and lots of native wild growth. The berries are from an invasive and poisonous-if-eaten plant called Pokeweed.

 

A mid-Missouri perennial herb garden

I let the perennial herbs in my garden run wild. In this photo the tiny white flowers are thyme blossoms, the round purple blossoms on the left are chive blossoms, the purple blossoms dominating the upper left are sage blossoms, and the green fronds at upper right are fennel fronds.

Designating one section of my yard as an herb garden where perennial  herbs are allowed to grow without containment has been a great! Maintaining large, vigorous herbs means:

  • There is never a shortage, and always enough herbs to cut, bundle, and gift (or in the case of sage, bundle and burn for a fragrant campfire), or cut, dry, and use over winter.
  • As they grow larger, many herbs spread underground and are easier to divide at the root. To create a free but always appreciated housewarming gift of a planter filled with herbs means I just need a shovel!
  • The extra growth of the unique leaves and blossoms of herbs are beautiful sniped and placed in bud vases or as additions to week bouquets.

 

One more closeup of one of my weed bouquets featuring moneywort, pokeberry, sage, fennel blossoms, and (do you see it?) a hawk feather found while harvesting greens to arrange!

Flower arrangements made with weeds, greens, and landscape clippings

Related Post

One thought on “Creating Beautiful Flower Arrangements from Herbs & Native Plants”

Leave a Reply

Related Post

%d bloggers like this: