Making flower arrangements is something that brings me lots of joy, and over time I’ve come to realize that buying flowers from the store can not only be expensive but not great for the planet as well. Most flowers are imported from other parts of the world, especially if they are not in season. I’ve come up with an easy and free solution, foraging flowers from my yard! Not only is it easy and free, it encourages me to take better care of my yard and home. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for finding flowers in your own backyard. If you don’t have a yard, don’t worry, I’ll cover that too!
Have a yard? Great! Don’t have a yard? Don’t worry!
If you have a yard, that’s great, it gives you lots of space to forage for some pretty plants to use. If you don’t, that’s okay too. You can make a smaller arrangement from cut plants that you might grow in pots, or perhaps make friends with a neighbor. There are a ton of neighbors in my neighborhood or yards I walk through that have beautiful plants and flowers and if I’m extra curious I will stop to compliment them and ask if it’s okay if I take a couple of clippings every now and then. Usually they are happy to oblige, especially if you offer something in return. Do you have a fresh fruit tree or services to provide? I’ve also often spotted bushes with pretty foliage along the side of the freeway offramp near my house. It sounds kind of gross since they might be covered in exhaust, but I have to say that I’ve been tempted to pull over and grab a couple of stems really quick, haha. And last or worst case scenario, I know this goes against foraging, but you can also buy a flower or two and collect greenery elsewhere.
Choose your vase.
Choosing a vase will likely be more based on placement and availability. What sorts of vases do you already have? How many plants do you have access to? I chose a quite large container similar to this one by house doctor to add to our entry console, but if you don’t have access to as many plants, you should probably use a smaller one.
Look for your sources.
I will start by saying that my yard is quite large in that I have a front yard, court yard, side yard, and back yard. To top it off I have no limit when it comes to collecting plants. I’d probably admit to being a plant hoarder if there were such a thing. That said, look beyond your typical flowers to trees and other types of foliage. Do a walk-through of your space and keep color, size, and warmth in mind. I pulled a few small branches from a neighbors pepper tree that hangs over our fence, as well as some trimmings from asparagus ferns in our courtyard. I have no real large focal point blooms in my yard right now except for my bird of paradise plant, so I trimmed the prettiest one on the plant. Remember that when you trim flowers you will want to trim before they are at their full bloom stage. They will bloom more once in your arrangement.
Look for similarities in color and leaves.
As you start to collect your foliage and florals, you will want to pay close attention to color. If it helps you to plan ahead more and not over-cut, you can lay them out to see which flowers go well together. I chose the bird of paradise as my focal flower, so the purple in the lavender and red in the bottle brush went well with it. I like to add a touch of whimsy to my arrangements, so I also trimmed some spider plant blossoms and babies.
Set limits. Collecting from only a few plants is a-okay.
You may be tempted to go crazy collecting from your yard for your arrangement (like I did), but try to limit yourself to no more than 5 different types of plants. It helps keep the arrangement more cohesive and also allows for more future trimming! You don’t want to cut all the leaves off of a plant or it won’t be healthy enough to sustain future growth.
Put together your arrangement.
If you’ve never put together an arrangement before, reading my floral arranging 101 post will be helpful. I like to start by adding a little sugar to the vase and filling it around 1/3 full with water. I chose to forgo adding structure to this arrangement simply because I did not have floral tape available, but if you do, please do it! It makes it so much easier to arrange florals when they aren’t busy flopping around trying to do their own thing. I start with a bit of greenery, add a focal floral (or few), then add in other accents to help fill the arrangement out.
If all else fails, keep it simple.
Keep it simple with just a couple of clippings, large or small.
Do you ever forage flowers for arrangements? Any tips for collecting good ones?