Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 93

Question:

What are your favorite berry varieties for using in bouquets? How do you insert them into the bouquet if the stems are short? Any special care instructions?

Clare Day Flowers

Privet Berries | Clare Day Flowers

Answers:

Privet berry is a favorite in winter as it works so well with evergreen and shades of white. Also juniper berry.

Clare Day Flowers | Kim Kalyn Photography

Privet Berries | Clare Day Flowers | Kim Kalyn Photography

Indian plum is a plant that is prolific here in the PNW that I adore. It has gorgeous yellow berries that ripen to a burnt orange.

Clare Day Flowers | Red Leaf Studios

Clare Day Flowers | Red Leaf Studios

Clare Day Flowers

Indian Plum | Clare Day Flowers

Unripe blackberries and raspberries are probably my favourite. We have thornless blackberries on our farm and they are amazing!

Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

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I adore using berries in my work!  And something neat is available almost anytime of the year. Some of my favorites are snowberry, privet, ornamental raspberry, and tinus viburnum.These typically come on long, sturdy stems, except for the tinus, which can be a tad short. Short stems are wired and taped and inserted into bouquets and centerpieces. Tinus has strong, leathery berries, and tough leaves, so it’s just fine applied this way.

Passionflower | Diana Marie Photography

Passionflower | Diana Marie Photography

I adore snowberry, but sometimes the berry clusters are too heavy, so I often pluck a few berries off, and lighten the stems up as needed. Privet is amazing- when it’s in its prime, the berry clusters are full and have a beautiful cascade to them.

Passionflower

Passionflower | Kathy Davies Photography (l) | Amanda Dumouchelle Photography (r)

I’m not above painting privet if it comes to me green…Design Master’s “flat black” does a convincing job turning them into the deep blue/black that everyone loves so much. I make a “spray guard” with a scrap of paper by tearing a small hole in it, inserting the berry clusters through it, and spraying one cluster at a time. I don’t want to paint the stems or leaves black. Tedious, but worth it!

Ornamental raspberry is another favorite, and one I grow. The berries are gorgeous, and the canes grow up to 10’ tall!  The foliage is strong, and I love using the new growth in crowns and other wearables. I do take care to pluck off any ripe berries- I don’t want to add anything to the bouquet that could cause a stain.

Susan McLeary (Passionflower)

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We use a lot of under-ripe blackberries, viburnum berries, porcelain vine, and green blueberries in our designs. If the stems are short, we just use florist tape to attach a wooden pick to the bottom to make it longer. The beauty of berries is they really don’t need water if being used in event work so you don’t need to fret over getting the stem down into the vase to drink. I especially love using berries in small personal items like boutonnieres and corsages.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

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My favorite berries to use in naturally styled bouquets are ones that have a nice drape to their shape. For more of a statement I like something like Privet Berries or Pepperberries which are fuller, and I love Snowberries, unripen Blueberries or raspberries for a more delicate addition. For the bride who likes a more tailored bouquet I like to tuck in Silver Brunia, Ivy Berries, or ivory Hypericum to add some texture.

Beth Zemetis (Blush Floral Design)

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I absolutely love berries… but mostly for the foliage! Black currant branches age beautifully in the autumn, their leaves turning a lovely mustard gold before going brown. Ditto for strawberry leaves but instead of gold, they give you a lovely mottled burgundy show. I love raspberries both for the foliage and the berries. All of these (except for the strawberries) have nice long canes/branches that make for lovely structure within an arrangement. Although they are on the short side for hand-held bouquets, I love plopping strawberries along the bottom of table arrangements and compotes- they can hang nicely below the other flowers, which shows off the beauty of the fruit.

Fleuropean

Raspberry foliage

Fleuropean

Raspberries

Fleuropean

Fleuropean

Strawberries

Emily Avenson (Fleuropean)

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My favourite berries….

Privet Berries and Hedera Berries are awesome – love the black!

Also love Viburnum opulus – the fleshy red, in season.

Of course love Solanum berries, but they are considered invasive so have to be very careful when using them – but the shades of blue/lavender in the fall is heavenly!!

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD (design358)

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I love berries a lot but not in bouquets… I am always afraid that the berries would go ugly when they start wilting or fall off and stain the bride’s gown. There is one variety I use a lot though in the end of summer, which is snowberries, just love love them. To get a berry look, I also use seeded eucalyptus, which is super safe even in the hottest summer months.

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

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