Day of Wonder

A grow-your-own wedding, Rodale style

March 4, 2011

On a picture-perfect September evening, the sort a bride dreams of, Maya Rodale, daughter of Maria Rodale and great-granddaughter of J.I., and Tony Haile were married at the Rodale family farm. It was the ideal place for the couple—who live in the city, but whose hearts are firmly planted in the country—to tie the knot. To capture this town-comes-to-the-farm, Maya worked with designer Mark Kintzel and the gardeners at the Working Tree Center to grow not only the food, but some of the flowers, for a sophisticated decor. Cottage-garden annuals, ivory ‘Vendela’ roses, and berried branches were combined with guinea-fowl feathers and other country accents to fashion bouquets and boutonnieres for the wedding party.

Simply Lovely
Flowers raised by head gardener Lisa Gabory included white and chartreuse zinnias, and ageratum and white globe amaranth. To grow your own wedding flowers, begin by listing the annuals to grow, sorting them by color and height so that when they’re planted out in the garden, there won’t be any overshadowing of smaller flowers by tall neighbors: The goal to is grow strong stems and clean blooms. Sow the seed for half-hardy annuals in flats indoors with bottom heat several weeks before the last frost date; plant out when the soil is warm, at which time the hardy annuals can be direct-sown.


VIDEO: Make Your Own Wedding Bouquet with Mark Kintzel

Cut & Keep
Flower gathering for the wedding began the day before. “The team went out in the fields to collect armfuls of oxeye daisies,” says Kintzel. Back in the garden, zinnias and other blooms and foliage were cut, leaving long stems. As they were cut, all the flowers were plunged up to their necks in deep, water-filled buckets, then moved to a shaded place to await arranging. “It’s important to keep the blooms cool and well-watered so that they retain their fresh, just-picked looks,” explains Kintzel, pointing out that this conditions the stems, keeping them straight and making them easier to arrange.

Boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen echoed the guinea feathers in Maya’s bouquet. Kintzel combined them with homegrown blue ageratum and white globe amaranth. “I started with the guinea feather,” he says, “then a small sprig each of the ageratum and amaranth and arranged them on top of the feather. The stems of the flowers were about 3 inches long, and I removed the leaves before binding all three together with green floral tape, working from the bottom up and completely covering the stems. Lastly, I wrapped the stem entirely with green velvet ribbon, secured with a small dab of hot glue.”

Tips: Floral tape sticks to itself, so use good tension when wrapping the stems. Keep finished posies in a cool place until use: Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Read more about Mark Kinztel in USA Today.