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How to forage your own wild bouquet

BY Anna Walker

1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

How to forage your own wild bouquet

Foraging flowers not only saves you money but also ensures your bouquet is seasonal and ethical. Plus, taking the trouble to pick your bouquet by hand, flower by flower, makes it an even more romantic gesture.

wild flowers

Most cut flowers come at a high cost to the planet. If you’re not double-checking the sustainability of the bouquet, you could be purchasing plants that have been imported from across the globe, especially if they are flowers not in season in Britain, such as red roses for Valentine’s.

Cut flowers are also often grown with the help of pesticides and an underpaid workforce. You can, of course, seek out organic bouquets, but an even easier way to ensure your flowers are ethical, sustainable and seasonal is to forage for them yourself.

We spoke to florist Kim Rebecca about the benefits of foraging.


When to go foraging

when to forage

“When foraging, it's best to go early morning before the sun gets too warm. Put cut stems straight into a bucket of cold water to let them drink.”

This is when flowers are at their most hydrated, a cooling bucket of cold water will keep them refreshed and ensure glossier leaves and blooms.

Try to avoid parks that are over landscaped, and instead head to wild looking patches. Overgrown flowers are your best bet and invasive plants like Ivy, that are usually in need of pruning anyway, are always a smart choice.

Set off well prepared. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and bring gardening gloves to avoid any scrapes along the way.

It’s also handy to take along a basket or another container to transport your spoils home in. A really sharp blade or pair of floral scissors is also a must.


How to pick your flowers

how to pick your flowers

“Try to make clean cuts with sharp blades so as not to harm the plant. It is best to make the cut just after a growth point (where a few stems branch off) so the plant can put its energies into those branches you leave on.”

Making clean, careful cuts will ensure that you won’t damage the plant, and that the flower can bloom again in the future. Finding flowers that still have growing left to do (flowers that have buds yet to bloom) will ensure they can continue flowering and that any forthcoming blooms last longer.

“When cutting, be selective about the stems you choose, go for unusual twists or bends so the final arrangement has an interesting composition.”


Arranging your bouquet

wild bouquet

“It helps to cluster similar flowers together, creating groups, as this makes bouquets look bolder and more deliberate.”

“Have a good mix of texture to create interest, such as twigs with lichen on, dried seed heads etc.

"Don't be afraid to have lots of height difference and leave enough room between each head for a bumblebee to fly through.”

Be sure to carefully wash your flowers before arranging them, and check for any bugs still lurking among the petals.


Stick to the forager’s code

forager's code

“Be careful not to take anything that is protected, such as Bluebells. Never dig up roots and try not to take too much from one area.”

Responsible foraging means not taking any plants that are endangered or rare. Only ever take what you need, and what you can sustainably remove without damaging the plant.

Remember to leave blooms behind for other people, and bees, to enjoy and never take from a plant with a single bloom.

“If you are foraging on owned land you legally need the landowners permission before you forage.”

If in doubt, always ask, no matter how tempting the flower. You may be surprised by the generosity of others. 



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