It was such an easy thing to do.

Simple really.

Grow zinnias.

Have them blooming wildly by Labor Day weekend.

Even the timing was simple.

Zinnias bloom for an incredibly long time.

Anne couldn’t have picked a better flower for a late summer wedding.

Strong, unassuming, easy,  fun.

Interesting how the choices we make often reflect who we are.

Anne is a zinnia.

And what a relaxed bride she was.

No bridezilla here.

The process began like one I have done many times.

On Thursday evening before the Saturday wedding I began to cut flowers.

We were making two big vase arrangements for the front of the gazebo where the ceremony would take place.

Cockscomb arrangements in front of gazebo

Backyard weddings don’t require tons of flowers.

You are, after all, surrounded by nature.

So you begin by cutting the longest lived flowers first.


Buckets of cockscomb.

After cutting them strip the leaves off the bottom half.

Then with your pruners split the stem up an inch or two.

Let them sit in buckets of water till you are ready to arrange them.

This will allow them to soak up all the water they need for the weekend.

Then on Friday morning I cut all the green hydrangeas I could find.

Green Hydrangea and Purple Zinnias

Surprisingly even after our tough summer there were plenty.

Over planting sometimes pays off.

Remember to dip the freshly cut stem in boiling water for a few seconds.

Remove all the leaves and put them in water up to their necks.

They need this hydration for at least 24 hours before arranging.

They will last for over a week if you do this.

Then came zinnias.

Cut them, strip off the leaves and put them in water.


We cut tons of zinnias

Big and small

Zinnias and more Zinnias

First all the purple we had

Then we just cut away.

On Saturday morning Anne, her mother Cheri and bridesmaids Meghan and Morgan arrived.

Coffee cups in hand.

None of the bridal party had much experience with flower arranging.

Simplicity was the order of the day.

Simple hand-held bouquets.

So you just start by picking out the flowers you like

And hold them in your hand.

Keep adding to them till you are happy.

The bride went first.

Anne with her bridal bouquet

Being an artist she did much better than most first time arrangers I have seen.

Her bridesmaids quickly followed

Morgan & Meghan making their bouquets.

Then small bouquets were made for the mothers and grandmothers.

Cheri, Anne & lots of bouquets

Finally boutonnieres.

Not my favorite.

Anne jumped right in

Figured it out

Anne, Morgan & Meghan creating a wedding

Before you knew it a wedding was done.

We packed it all in baskets

Baskets of wedding flowers

Filled the car

Off they went.

The evening came.

Strings of zinnia filled vases on the gazebo

Family and friends gathered in the backyard.

The rain held off well into the evening.

The bride’s smile was only eclipsed by the groom’s.

Adam & Anne

The joy was palpable.

Thank you Anne for letting me be a part of this moment.


Some photographs (the better ones) courtesy of Kayla Hoffsommer.


Filed under Bouquets, cockscomb, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Uncategorized, Wedding Flowers, Zinnia

4 responses to “SIMPLE GIFTS

  1. megan

    Remember all of this for mine. I’m just going to say…….remember that one blog where you did the flowers for that wedding……this is the one 🙂

  2. Cheri Ezzell

    Gail, we will always remember that morning. It was so much fun. As we left your garden, Meghan said to Anne, “You have some wonderful people in your life”. She is so right. Thank you!

  3. Thank you. Isn’t life in a small town great!

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