Great, green gobs of goodness
Whether serving as structural support or merely acting as a textural accent, greenery is one aspect of floral design that often gets overlooked. From the fern of a baker to the ear of a lamb, (known as baker’s fern and lamb’s ear, respectively), there’s a vast array of creatively-named cut foliage out there with tons of creative potential to match! There are a few categories that we can easily put greens into for the purpose of taking the guess work out of which greens go with what, but of course, barring a few exceptions,(In the name of avoiding being unfaithful to a design aspiration, and of course, tackiness!), there is much fun to be had in unexpected and unorthodox pairings. We’ve broken down greens into roughly four categories to dampen the sensation of our brains spinning around in our heads when we think of how many different varieties of foliage there are! They are as follows:
- All-purpose greens
- Garden greens
- Tropical greens, and
- Holiday greens.
Of course, many greens fall into more than one of these categories, but then again, your arrangements and compositions may too. All-purpose greens are things like lemon leaf, baker’s fern, ruscus, cocculus, pittosporum, eucalyptus, and myrtle. These greens are multi-functional, have the most cross-over between categories, and are more often used for structural support than for total aesthetic.
Garden greens offer up crisp stems and more succulent leaves, which makes them the most perishable of the categories. These are greens like geranium, dusty miller, lamb’s ear, galax, fern, springerii, and ivy. These greens create the setting for a more lux, refined, mystique for your bouquets and arrangements. The combination of costliness and often delicate stems means that these types of foliage are largely used as accents only. They’re typically not seen as often, so they’re less recognizable which often equates to more memorability and wow factor. These greens can look breathtaking in a wide variety of styles from old world classic or lush and garden-y to contemporary, funky, and modern.
Tropical greens boast a lot of the same extravagance and wow-ability as garden greens, but they have the added benefit of being fairly hearty and stable. Largely coming to you as a single leaves, greens like monstera, aspidistra, ti leaf, aralia, banana leaf, and emerald palm, are bold. I mean, bazinga. Huge, devastating, lilting, languishing; lush and romantic. They can make the Carnegie feel like it’s too small for the grandeur they paint in broad, sweeping strokes across the backdrop of your venue. These greens are insanely self-sufficient; a spray of banana leaves and emerald palm alone is enough to make your eye’s mouth(?) water. Pair them with other notable tropicals like bird of paradise, protea, heliconia, anthurium, or, of course, orchids, and your event becomes downright transcendent.
Last, but not least (well, maybe, after we just discussed tropicals), is our holiday greens category. These greens are encompass more seasonal fare such as autumn leaves (you can order them preserved or natural!), and coniferous greens like holly, blue spruce, fir, cedar, and juniper. These greens are often used for coverage, stability, and/or accents. Though a wide variety of greens from other categories are available during the holiday season, these conifers are most typically used for their novel, timeliness, and can look a little confusing when paired with other, even all-purpose greens, though greens from the garden category could make for some experimental delight. Holiday greens pair well with a wide variety of flowers from hydrangea to roses and stock, to winter and early spring flowers like paperwhite or tulips.
So there you have it! There are hundreds of different types of leaves, greenery, and foliage out there as literally as close as your back yard! Seriously. One of us once agreed to do flowers for a wedding in a very midwestern hometown in Michigan in the month of June. Long story short, much of the product that arrived from our wholesaler arrived dead or not at all, so we improvised by using lush garden greens like hosta (gasp, so beautiful) and geranium leaves paired with roses from a neighbor’s garden to create sumptuous, stunning boutonnieres and bouquets. But that’s a different story for a different day! Hopefully we made the sea of green a little easier to navigate. Especially since we don’t all live in a yellow submarine. Does Apple maps work at sea? #checkingonthat #getrightbacktoyou
Greenery Tips and Facts:
Season: Think juicy, snapping leaves and stems in spring and summer, sturdy, woodier stems in autumn and winter!
Colors: The term “greenery” is rather a fallacy here because foliage actually comes in a shockingly wide palette of colors! From white, silver, mint blue, every shade of green imaginable, to vibrant red, pink, fuchsia, and deep purple.
Other notables not mentioned: Moss – all kinds. Papyrus. And magnolia, for that southern feel.
For more gracious greenery, check out our Pinterest board!