Blooms in Season: April
April is here, spring is in full swing and all thoughts of winter are but a distant memory…Or that is what is supposed to happen, but as we all know the British weather seems to have a mind of its own and rarely does what it is supposed to.
So we have to take advantage of the good times when we can! A great way to do that is take a wander around the beautiful British countryside to see the varied and vivid colours on display. It always helps to know what you are looking at, however.
With that in mind we are continuing our Blooms in Season series with a look at the fabulous flowers that blossom and bloom in April. Spring is a time of new beginnings, with a large number of weddings taking place in April and May. For those who choose an April wedding, there are an extensive and elaborate range of seasonal blooms to choose from.
It’s always best to start at the beginning though, so we will kick things off with a look at the birth month flowers of April. Birth is, after all the beginning of pretty much everything for us.
What a lucky bunch!
Those lucky enough to be born in April have not one, but two birth flowers; the daisy and the sweet pea so let’s learn a little more about them (the flowers, not the people, this blog won’t be long enough to find out about all the people born in April…).
Did you know that the name for this seemingly ubiquitous little flower stems from the Old English and is a reference to its daily habits? If not, you are about to. As the petals open during the day and close at night, it was known as the day’s eye.
It has long been a symbol of true love because this unassuming little flower is actually two flowers working in perfect harmony. Daisies are part of the aster family (Asteraceae) which is one of the largest plant families and includes sunflowers.
Although the family was first classified by a German botanist in the 18th century, there are records of daisies dating from as far back as 2200 B.C., when they are believed to have been grown in Egyptian gardens and used for medicinal purposes.
If you want to grow your own daisies, you can plant them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost (although as mentioned that can be tricky to judge), or outdoors after the last frost. It should be noted that plants grown from seed won’t bloom until the following season.
Some varieties are known to be weeds, so choose your daisies with care. The most common garden daisies are the English, Grebera, Shasta and Ox eye.
Unsurprisingly given the name, the sweet pea is a close relative of beans and other legumes, but is not a crop pea. I(t is considered toxic to both humans and animals, so please do not confuse it with its edible garden relatives!
These fragrant and colourful flowers come in hundreds of varieties, are native to the Mediterranean and Italy, and can be used to brighten up any room. They are often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Annuals’, and in the language of flowers are known as an ideal parting gift. They are also given to brides on their wedding day to bring good luck.
They were first discovered by a Sicilian monk in the late 17th century who sent the seeds to a botanist in Amsterdam and a teacher in England. In the early 19th century a Scottish nursery owner began creating hybrids that were larger, more colourful and more beautiful.
Preferring full sun and well-drained soil, sweet peas are climbers that can grow from 6-10 feet tall depending on the variety. If you are going to plant them, make sure to give them plenty of room and good support from a fence or trellis.
They can be planted in late winter or early spring, and although they like the sun, the plant does not thrive in the heat (making them a great choice for UK gardens). The flowers bloom in spring and seeds can be started indoors before being transplanted outside.
April wedding flowers
Weddings can be expensive, so a good way to save on costs is to make sure your florist uses flowers that are in season. As there are so many sumptuous seasonal flowers in April, it makes sense to get married during this month.
To know the full range of seasonal flowers that are perfect for a wedding, it is best to talk to your local florist and Flower Shops Network has a network of florists across the country that are more than happy to offer advice and guidance.
As a quick start we will highlight a few of our favourites, sweet peas would be part of the list, but as we have already mentioned them we won’t go over old ground.
Tulips: With such a varied selection to choose from, Tulips are perfect for creating a look and feel for your wedding as unique as the couple getting married. Not only that, but there are some fantastic British growers cultivating beautiful tulips at the moment, so you can get the best of British, too.
Orchids: We know that they were once seen as quite cheesy and ‘old-hat’ for a wedding, but these days they are trending, and no wonder! There is an almost endless selection of Orchid to choose from, and they come in all shapes and sizes, not to mentions colours and patterns, too. With these fantastic flowers you can really personalise your big day.
Peonies: While they might be on the expensive side, peonies are sure to impress all your guests. Not only are there traditional varieties, there are tree and hybrid peonies available now that come in an extensive range of colours, from shades of coral to deep purple. They are also particularly versatile and should be paired with other flowers for a wedding bouquet that really stands out.
Irises: In our opinion, these are hugely underrated flowers. They come in a variety of unique colours and shades, not just the bright purple they are famous for, and adding white iris to a bouquet adds depth and texture.
Freesia: Perfect for a boutonniere, freesias have a sweet fragrance and up to tem bell shaped flowers on each stem. They also lend themselves well as place settings or as an accent to your escort cards.
A wander with wildflowers
With the better weather (when it comes) comes the ideal opportunity to witness the beauty of the British countryside first hand. Take a walk and discover the truly wonderful wildflowers that surround us all at this time of year.
Cow Parsley: Even in an urban environment you won’t have to travel far before you find these tall and exuberant wildflowers. They are a (very) distant relative of the carrot and provide food for a variety of British wildlife (although they taste nothing like carrots!).
Ramsons: Also known as wild garlic, these wildflowers look almost exotic with wide green leaves and are a favourite of foragers because they are absolutely delicious. The whole plant from root to flower can be eaten. Much like the bluebell they can take over an entire area of woodland.
Bluebells: As mentioned above, these can easily cover an entire area of woodland. In fact, over 50% of the world’s bluebells can be found in the UK. April is the time to see them in their full glory, and they are often inundated with bees, butterflies and hoverflies who have a huge appetite for the sweet, sweet nectar.
Bulbous Buttercup: We all know the best way to find out if someone likes butter, right? Correct, the only logical way is to hold one of these golden flowers under a chin and if there is a reflection of golden yellow then the answer is yes (Note: not scientifically proven, but fun nonetheless!). If you want to find out who like butter, these flowers can be found along almost any footpath, on roadsides and in most gardens.
White or Purple Dead Nettle: The first thing to be said about these is that they DO NOT STING! So happy days there. They are, however, often found near actual stinging nettles so take care. Taking a closer look is worth it, as although they are often seen as boring because they are everywhere the petals resemble orchids when viewed close up.