From English garden-inspired designs to bold and lively bouquets, these floral creations capture the essence of summer
By Brooke Spach
Summer always brings about an abundance of locally grown blooms, which are central to the arrangements and bouquets Purple Puddle creates for birthdays, bridal and baby showers, anniversaries and reunions this time of year. Most customers entrust the shop’s floral designers with the creative vision, but owner Kathy Buck says the English garden look is a popular request – round or oval-shaped arrangements with large blooms and vertical accents. This particular arrangement includes seasonal sweet peas, bellflowers and speedwells.
This bold bouquet created by Hannah Pertalion, a seasoned designer with Victoria Park Florist, features a lively color palette that reflects the bounty of a summer garden. Vibrant hues are a signature mark of Victoria Park’s summertime arrangements, which can range stylistically from tropical to wildflower or meadow-inspired looks. Popular blooms include poppies, zinnias and Larkspur, among others – this arrangement features roses, sunflowers, delphinium and snapdragons. “The sweet orange dahlia nestled down in front is also a summer favorite, which we start to see right around early June and are able to enjoy all the way through summer until the first frost of the year,” designer and events coordinator Lisa Fischer says. “The poppy pods, mushrooms and curly willow are a nod to the earth from which all these flowers grow and [also] help to create further dimension and visual interest throughout the arrangement.”
University Florist also creates seasonal arrangements for all occasions, from dinner parties to weddings to “getting or staying out of trouble,” says owner Henry House. The longstanding shop sources flowers during early spring through the fall from North Carolina growers like Curtis Flower Farm and Stemz. “We try to support these local farms as much as possible,” Henry says. “This is their season, and we take full advantage.” He also notes that you can tell the difference in a local blossom, from its appearance to its touch. The most popular flowers by far, he says, are peonies. “They are somewhat of a legend around here and are only available for about a month.”
Warmer months can pose a challenge to keeping arrangements looking fresh, especially during outdoor events. Chapel Hill Florist owner Ken Randby has a few tips to aid with longevity: Avoid direct sunlight and drafts, both hot and cold – don’t place flowers near air vents. “When we make an arrangement, we put a flower preservative in the water, so it’s best to leave that water and just top off the vase with tap water for the first few days,” Ken says. “When the water starts to look cloudy, lift the arrangement out of the vase, re-cut the stems, and change the water with room temperature tap water.
“The availability of locally grown products … adds a variety of flower options not seen in other seasons,” Ken adds, referencing summer’s bounty. The arrangement here showcases this affinity for local blooms and bright colors, with orange lilies from Sarah & Michael’s Farm and forget-me-nots, calendulas, mint and zinnias sourced from a variety of farms through Piedmont Wholesale Flowers and Stemz.