Edibles for your Bouquets
I don’t know about you, but I am always searching for more foliage, greenery, and other interesting ingredients to add to my bouquets. Herbs are a great place to look. Being vegetable farmers first, back in the day we were already growing a ton of herbs, and we quickly realized they were an easy bouquet amendment. There are so many herbs that make great additions to floral arrangements. They add fragrance, texture, and unique elements that will set your flowers apart. I am sure many of you are already using some herbs, but maybe something new will catch your eye here.
For the most part herbs are really easy to grow. Using both perennial and annual herb varieties will help extend your potential harvest season. Many herbs are great insectary plants, attracting beneficials to your fields—both pollinators and predatory insects.
One thing to note is the stage of harvest for fresh edible herbs is almost always different from harvesting for a cut flower. For a cut, you will generally need it to be in the flower stage for it to condition well, which can be a bit different for each flower. You must experiment with the right stage of harvest to determine this for each variety if you can’t find information on it elsewhere, especially for things like mint and basil. These two are quite wilt prone, and determining the right stage of harvest is critical. While I Iove the look of these in the foliage stage, I have to wait until they have started to flower to harvest them so they hold up.
We had some fun making all-edible bouquets the last few years. I advertised them as such, even if I know people won’t eat most of what goes in the bouquet, and I refrained from using hydration solutions or flower food in these, in case people did want to eat them. But most of the herbs I use in mixed bouquets are being mixed with non-edible flowers anyway and I treat them just like I do the rest of the flowers I cut, with hydration and holding solution.
There are so many options, but here is a list of herbs I have used successfully in bouquets:
- Fennel—bulbing varieties
- Bronze fennel
- Mint—apple, spearmint, and others
- Mountain mint
- Oregano—‘Kirigami’ is a favorite, but short
- Garlic chive flowers
- Basil—cinnamon, lemon, African blue
- Cilantro flowers and immature seed heads
- Monarda (beebalm)
- Anise hyssop (Agastache)
- Lemon balm
- Shiso—Perilla frutescens var. crispa
- Lemon verbena
- Chiles (chile de arból are my favorite)
- Ornamental cabbage
- Leek flowers, and other edible allium flowers
- Garlic scapes
- Cherry tomatoes on the vine
- Green beans and edible peas on the vine
- Okra pods
- Grains like millet, sorghum, and wheat
- Fruiting branches (with fruit or just foliage) e.g. blackberries, raspberries, etc.