From A to Z, this month’s flowers are anything but typical. In the third installment of flowers of the month, I can’t wait to unveil some of July’s wonderful blooms.
As always, some of the flowers bloom longer than others because of weather issues. These are just a few of the many flowers that you will see during July and possibly beyond. Here are just a few that might interest you:
Astilbe - This is one of those flowers that feels more like a foliage. It’s mainly a late spring and summer flower but when you see it, it feels wintery and that’s why I seldom use them in my arrangements during the summer though I love them. They are pyramid shaped with feathery plumes. Very slender and spikey like amaranthus but more fragile and shorter (and a bit more moderate in price). It is often a line or filler flower rarely a focal, although I want to change that. I like putting them in a simple bud vase by themselves. I think they are very interesting. Not very many vendors carry these. In San Fran, I’d check with Torchio Nursery (pictured top left).
Calendula - One of those modest flowers that people just forget. I like them in centerpiece, bouquets, and in dainty pieces. They’re not great in Oasis and are very daisy like. You will see them through the summer. Like marigolds, only available in bright orange and golden yellow. Calendula are very affordable, and great with rustic arrangements. Mr. Repettos in Half Moon Bays carries them (pictured top middle).
Celosia - I call them “Brain flowers” because they have these rooster comb texture. They are so super to touch. My favorite is the hot pink. It’s not for everyone, and it takes a really special bride to want to add these because they can be scary looking. Though not very expensive, you don’t get much for your money. Mr. Garcia of Garcia Greens had some really wonderful ones this week. (pictured top right)
Chinese Lanterns - I’m not kidding, there really are flowers called “Chinese Lanterns”. You should start seeing them in the flower market during the middle of July. Only available in a persimmon orange, they are fragile and paper like. Highlight at the SF Flower Market carries some of the very best quality (pictured 2nd row left).
Dinner Plate Dahlias - I wrote about my love for dahlias last month. Well, I’m still in love with them. This month, the SF Flower Market has more dahlias and a few of the dinner plate variety. Dinner Plate dahlias can be as wide as 10 inches in diameter. These things are huge, and they are scrumptious. My favorites are the blush or deep plum ones. If you’re in SF, you can sometimes find these dahlias at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market where you can find amazing deals. One note of caution -dahlias shatter when they are old or when it’s very hot. They don’t really last very long. I usually like to float mine for a day or two. My favorite wholesaler, Torchio is finally getting the Cafe Au Lait kind (pictured 2nd row, middle).
Echinops - If you are planning an outdoor, lavender/blue wedding and need a texture element, this could be your flower. Often called “Globe thistle” this flower is 1 to 2 inches across with a woody stem, great for putting into Oasis. The leaves are thistle-like and it’s a good form and mass flower. They remind me of dandelions, only in a grey white or faint blue (pictured 2nd row, right).
Domestic Hydrangea - For several months now, I’ve had to buy imported hydrangeas. Finally the locally grown hydrangeas are here, and the range of colors is alarmingly amazing -dark purple, French blue, blush, hot magenta and broccoli-like chartreuse. Love them!
The local ones also seem so much heartier than the imported ones, and the cost is so reasonable. I’m a huge hydrangea fan because of their shape, mass size and frankly, their price is fair compared to their size and flexibility of use. You can use them in bouquets, centerpieces, large pieces -their very versatile flowers. They can stand only in a vase. They are great mixed with other flowers. They are pretty much a favorite except in direct heat, where they will wilt.
Figone Nursery is one of my favorites and owner, Louie Figone grows them in Half Moon Bay. Torchio Nursery carries many different varieties and colors and is a great resource (pictured third row left, middle image).
Marigolds - Are one of my favorite modest flowers. They have a slight sour, tart scent which I find refreshing (since so many flowers have no scent at all). Marigolds are available in a bright tangerine orange and citrus yellow. One thing that marigolds are very good for -making garlands or leis (pictured third row, right).
Montbretia - The meaning of Montbretia is “cheerful”. They are also called “Falling stars”. Available in red and orange they are a line flower with multi branching spikes. For a high style or contemporary design, mass them vertically (pictured bottom row, left, middle image).
Viburnum Berry - These lovely berries are more elegant than hypericum berries. They are great for those wine country weddings. Usually available later in July, you can probably find them at Florist-at-Large at the SF Mart (not shown).
Zinnias - These mass flowers come in a range of colors from white, lavender, purple, pink, deep red, peach, orange, yellow to even faint green. My favorites are the green ones which are very hard to find. Depending on the variety, these blooms can be anywhere between 1 to 3 inches wide. Often mistaken for gerber daisies, they are lovely but can brown on the edges. The reason I rarely use them is because they often come assorted and they are not very good out of water or in Oasis (pictured bottom row, right).
Which July flowers do you like or are considering for your wedding?