Friday, February 19, 2016

Snapdragons: The Joy of Designing with Local Flowers

On Wednesday afternoon, I  drove out to Hendrick's to pick up flowers. Hendrick's is 87 miles from our studio in Pennsylvania. That might sound like a long way to drive to pick up flowers every week during the winter. It's not. Especially when you think that most flowers sold in the US travel thousands of miles to get to the end user. And truth be told, it's one of the best parts of my job to pull up to Hendrick's shop and see what Sue Ellen has waiting for us!

This week I ordered anemones, sweet william, heirloom carnations, daffodils, mums, freesia and snapdragons. Snaps are one of the few flowers we have almost every week of the year for design. Flowers by Bauers just north of us in Jarretsville, grows snaps, hydroponically, year round. In the dead of winter, when most of what we have is greens and branches, we can count of Matt, of Flowers by Bauers to hook us up with his candy colored blooms. 

This week, while we got some snaps from Matt, on Monday, his supply was low because of Valentine's Day, so I ordered a couple hundred stems from Hendricks too. Just seeing them bunched together, made me happy. As I was carrying them to the cooler back at the shop, I happened to smell them. I don't know what made me do it. I guess it's just our habit to smell any flowers if they are close to us, even if we know they don't have any fragrance. But wait...are snaps fragrant? I didn't think they were. But these ones I was holding smelled sweet. Like candy. I thought maybe the freesia scent had migrated to them temporarily since they were next to each other in the car. I smelled again. It certainly seemed like they were fragrant. I emailed Sue Ellen, the grower of the snaps, later that night, asking about the scent. Her reply "Yes, our snaps do smell.  They smell like grape bubble Yum". She also mentioned that the most fragrant ones are Maryland Lavender. The other fragrant ones are Plum blossom and Overture pink.

Wait what? I've been using snaps most weeks for the last 9 years and never experienced or never noticed them having a scent. I googled them and found a blog post that described them as have a "stuffing scent". A  sweet scent but not one given off spontaneously in the air. Which i think means you have to smell smell them.

So, if snaps smell great and come in loads of great colors, why don't we see them in designs more? Where are the snapdragons on Instagram? Why aren't brides pinning pictures of snapdragons?

I think it's because when conventional designers choose flowers for their designs, flowers that are shipped in from all over the world, they choose flowers like peonies, garden roses, orchids, japanese ranunculus and other "popular" flowers regardless of their growing season. They don't HAVE to choose flowers like snaps. So, for the most part, they don't. Don't get me wrong, I like those flowers too (sort of). But sourcing locally, is different. It means we use what's available seasonably in our community. That means, that we use alot of snaps. And sure, sometimes they're too pointy or too flimsy or too tall...but mostly they are beautiful and underrated. And they were grown by people we know. And they tell the story of our region and the farmers that grow them. And they are grown with care. know they smell like grape bubble yum.

A bride commented on one of our photos recently saying "i love snaps now because you included them in my wedding flowers". That's our goal right? To introduce people to local flowers that they may not have known before and help them to fall in love. What's better than that? 

Here are some of my favorite designs with locally grown snaps!

January Bouquets designed by local color flowers with locally grown succulents, magnolia leaves, snapdragons, narcissus, tulips, and eucalyptus. 1797508_10102339912219013_598578648_n | Flickr - Photo Sharing!:

Winter bouquet designed by Local Color Flowers filled with tulips, iris, snap dragons, boxwood, magnolia, curly willow and white forsythia.

Single order:
Spring bouquet filled with locally grown cut flowers and foliage. Designed by Local Color Flowers.

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