QMy daughter is getting married in August, and she and I would like to grow flowers for the wedding bouquets and other arrangements. Can you suggest flowers that would be in bloom in August? We'd like to grow a range of colors, but nothing really bright, like red, and we're aiming for a casual, wildflower look.
AAnnuals and some summer flowering bulbs will be the best choices for an August wedding. Many perennials provide nice cut flowers, but because you would have to start with small plants this spring most would not produce enough flowers for cutting by August. I will mention some perennials, though, and you can check with friends and relatives to see if they might be able to provide you with some stems of flowers.
Timing is critical. I suggest that you do successive seedings of the annuals that can be sown outdoors. If you seed a short row each week or so in late spring into early summer, you'll have a better chance that enough flowers will be in peak bloom on the wedding date. Check seed catalogs or packages for information on how long it should take from seeding to bloom. This figure can vary greatly, of course, depending on weather conditions. Because summers are cooler in the Upper Midwest, you may need to add a week or more to the number of days to maturity.
Also make sure that you give the flowers these optimal growing conditions:
Don't overfertilize. This encourages leafy growth, not flowers.
Tall growing snapdragons will make elegant spikes of flowers for arrangements. Select single colors (white, pink and pale yellow would be nice). You can use a mixed-color packet of seeds, but some of the colors may be too bright. Start snapdragons indoors in March or early April.
Other annuals that would need to be started indoors: salvias, heliotrope, stocks, statice and globe flower (Gomphrena). Many people are familiar only with salvia varieties that have stiff, fire-engine red spikes of flowers, but there are several others that would be more suited to your wedding selections. Salvia farinacea has wonderful cultivars such as the blue-purple spikes of 'Victoria' and 'Blue Bedder,' white flowered 'White Victoria' and 'Cirrus', and the cultivar 'Strata,' which has a lovely combination of blue and white flowers. Salvia coccinea also has some good choices including 'Coral Nymph,' with coral pink and white flowers, and 'Snow Nymph,' with all white flowers.