The irony of a relaxed, casual wedding is that it can take a ton of work to pull off. And there’s nothing wrong with that! My brother and sister-in-law were married beneath a huge shade tree surrounded by corn fields, and their getaway vehicle was a clunky pick-up truck with tin cans strung from the rear. Of course, all of this was carefully staged to create a certain mood and to communicate their take on life as a couple. I loved the day, and so did everyone.
Of the wildflowers in Nicole’s bouquet, one of my faves was lavender, a plant that can grow almost anywhere, although it does best in climates with warm, dry summers and wet winters. With special attention paid during its first year in the ground, it can thrive in your back yard, and become the main element in the wedding party’s bouquets, boutonnieres and table arrangements.
Is it too much to be so involved in your wedding planning that you grow your own flowers? I don’t think so. Imagine looking at the cluster grasped in your hands and remembering the cultivation and care that brought them to this day.
Tips for growing a patch of lavender:
1. Prep the soil. Soil should have good drainage, meaning that the plants roots should never be in a position to sit in a puddle, which is the very thing that will kill lavender. If your soil is sandy, you’re in luck. If your soil has a lot of clay, mix in a healthy dose of organic material available at your garden center.
2. Dig a hole. Before you plant your lavender (choose a cultivar available locally and recommended by local gardeners), toss a handful of composted cow manure in there (I like Black Kow). Pat soil around the plant and “water it in” as they say: water several times to makes sure there aren’t pockets of air beneath the surface.
3. Water regularly all year, and lovingly tend to your plants by keeping an eye out for infestations (here’s a list of potential pests). Harvest as soon as the flowers begin opening, placing the stems in water buckets if your wedding is that weekend or drying them for later use if your wedding is further off.
Questions? Ask Sarah in the comments!