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A year of bridal bouquets: March

Cate Johnson of Green Gate Blooms apprises us of the wealth of British-grown flowers available to a wedding florist in March, and how important it is to her to reflect and advocate for the natural rhythm of the seasons.

March lands us on the cusp of winter and spring, a transitional time for nature. As a florist that only works with British-grown flowers, March is the point in the new year when I start to feel there are more possibilities to play with. After months of seeing bare soil and brown twigs, signs of life are emerging and the garden begins to wake.

I often begin my bridal bouquets by building a base of foliage, to create the garden gathered style of floristry I love. There are lots of shrubs around in March which work perfectly, not only as foliage but for flowers too. Pieris, for example, offers texture and colour: I strip back the dominant leaves to reveal the jewel-like flowers.  Viburnum bodnantense likewise is great for a touch of colour and fragrance. Another of my favourites for its delicate flowers is forsythia. This is an underrated shrub, I think, perhaps because yellow is rarely a couple’s colour of choice, but used minimally it can sit subtly within a scheme, or dramatically if used en masse. A few snippets of sweet box can add scent, and pittosporum or Eucalyptus parvifolia offer small-leaved foliage that maintains the delicacy I want to replicate in spring.

A snapshot of a March bouquet in cream, green and orange by Cate Johnson of Green Gate Blooms.

Pittosporum foliage offsets some of the blousier blooms of spring with its delicacy. [Tom Wyatt Photography]

In my February cutting garden the bright yellow daffodils are fully out, but those waiting in the wings for March offer much more subtle options. I would not be without these “fancy daffs”: they come in so many different shapes, colours and sizes that there is bound to be one that’s perfect for any bridal bouquet. Their colours in particular cover a spectrum of whites, creams, and peachy tones, which is one of the most popular colour palettes for brides. Some offer scent too; the small multi-headed varieties are so dainty yet can fill an entire room with their fragrance. Some florists (and brides) may think that daffodils are not good enough for bridal work but as far as I am concerned they should be celebrated.

A stunning March bouquet of British seasonal flowers by Cate Johnson of Green Gate Blooms

Creamy-white daffodils make a perfect focal flower for a bridal bouquet. Here Cate has complemented them with pieris and blackthorn blossom. [Tom Wyatt Photography]

Despite the emerging signs of life in March, many of my flowers are not ready to cut until April. For larger weddings, and a wider colour palette, I rely on other growers with glasshouses or polytunnels. They are able to provide me with early spring flowers before my outdoor-grown ones are ready: tulips, hyacinths and (if the weather is kind) anemones and maybe a ranunculus or two. This is where my options are for those couples that want specific colour palettes. For warmth I might add a pop of orange, or for those blush and white lovers a hint of pink. There is plenty of colour to celebrate in these beautiful spring blooms.

Cate with another opulent March bouquet, featuring tulips, anemones, hyacinths and viburnum blossom.

However, my favourite ingredient for wedding work in March has to be the proclaimer of spring – blossom! There is early-flowering blackthorn and cherry through to the pear and plum trees later in the month. The delicacy blossom brings to an arrangement is so beautiful. Just one piece will create a bit of magic, give movement to a design and offer that ethereal quality so important for a bridal bouquet. It’s here for such a fleeting moment there is something very sacred about blossom and I absolutely adore it.

I think part of my role as a season-led event florist is to convince people how amazing seasonal British flowers can be. I hope my bridal bouquets will inspire you to explore British-grown flowers further, whatever the time of year.

Find out more about the possibilities of British flowers for your wedding on our Wedding Inspiration page