May in the Midwest is about the most beautiful time of year. The weather finally begins to warm with some consistency, new green growth can be spotted on the trees and in the gardens. It’s one of the most popular months for weddings in Ohio, and for good reason.
On the flower farm, May is most certainly our most unpredictable month. Warm weather in springtime can come upon us gradually, quite quickly, or as was the case in 2018, incredibly slow. Each of these weather patterns can lead to different outcomes in terms of flower availability, and so I always encourage May brides to ‘be flexible!’
Last year, with a late spring, our bulb flowers bloomed later, and we were able to store tulips and daffodils for all of our May weddings and Mother’s Day sales. in a typical year, the bulb flowers are sold-out mid-month.
In 2017, when spring came to us early, we were able to enjoy large fistfuls of iceland poppies, the first ‘Chantilly’ snapdragons, and March sown nigella in our wedding designs.
But one group of flowers that reliably shows up every year around mid-May? Perennials. Namely, PEONIES.
Peony mania usually begins mid-to-late May in Ohio. These gorgeous, fragrant, ephemeral flowers are an all-time-favorite of spring couples, many of whom cite nostalgia of their parents’ or grandparents’ gardens, filled with toppling spring peonies, odd vases filled with blown out blooms around the house, petals and pollen dropping on the surface below (anyone?)
While we do not grow peonies here at Old Slate Farm, mainly due to the fact that peonies have a long establishment period, and with us quickly outgrowing our current farm, a large investment like a peony field (even a small one!) wouldn’t be financially prudent (…since when did I become financially prudent?) We source our peonies from other farm friends, this past year, all of our peonies for our weddings came from White Walnut Flower Farm, just 20 miles away.
We do grow some perennials and biennials to try and bridge the gaps between the early spring bulb flowers (see last week’s post on April weddings) and the field flowers that begin to really crank out stems starting in mid-June. Included in that group around here are copious amounts of foxglove, yarrow, columbine, bearded iris, raspberry (for foliage) and clematis.
Our May weddings also almost always feature gorgeous garden roses from our friends in California at Grace Rose Farm. Receiving beautiful boxes of fragrant garden roses every Thursday morning is an absolute treat, one I look forward to every week. Her roses make a spectacular accent to the fluffy peonies that we use recklessly in the month of May.
May is a splendid month for an outdoor wedding, or at least a wedding adjacent to nature so you and your new spouse can sneak out into the spring air for fresh photos after your ceremony. I love how soft, romantic colors accent the warmer, life-giving weather, and many of our couples agree. White weddings, soft blushes, creams, and light blues are frequent May wedding requests.
Thankfully, nature always comes through.