Although I’m not a big proponent of D.I.Y. wedding flowers, on the rare occasion that a family member has a southern garden with spring flowers in bloom (and a random aunt willing to cut, condition and arrange them), I say go for it. In fact, if I had a family member getting married this weekend, I would beg to cover their event in azaleas. In the garden, I get very unemotional about azaleas for 11 months out of the year. They are sticks in the winter and messy, nondescript foliage for summer and fall. But, for a few weeks in spring, azaleas flower in shady gardens all around me. So, to give them their props while it’s fresh in my mind, I decided to show how I put together a foraged azalea bouquet from my spring garden.
I started with a hidden gem in my garden. I mean, literally it’s hidden. A petite shrub with petite blossoms, it’s squished between a massive cluster of another variety with huge gaudy pink blooms. Each blossom is white with a slight pink edge that darkens as they age. The second variety I used is a large flowered white variety with ruffly blooms that resemble large honeysuckle florets.
I combined several stems of the large flowered variety into a cluster of blooms, as the flowers are quite spread out on a branch. I then begin placing these clusters around a single stem of the third variety of azalea, a small shrub with huge clusters of tiny white blossoms.
I also add a stem or two of the pink edged variety here and there. With beautiful flowers, there is no right or wrong way to put them together. I keep the bunch loose in my hand so I can adjust it as I go, making sure some blooms are facing out and there are no big “holes” in the bouquet. Once I have a nice full bouquet, I add a few sprigs of lady fern for texture and contrast.
Again, I hold the bouquet gently so I can work a fern frond down in wherever I think it will look nice. The green really warms up the bouquet and I love the way the tips are a lighter green in spring.
The finished bouquet is tied with ribbon…an easy way to secure stems without getting too complicated. I love to leave some ribbon hanging down from a bouquet. The finished product is fresh, natural and lovely. Although azaleas don’t typically last well, they’ll last long enough that this could be made the day before your event and kept in water.