By Joyce Driemeyer
May and June bring gatherings and celebrations for family reunions and graduations, and welcome to summer and weddings. It is a glorious time of year for gardens and outdoor celebrations. What better time of year than now to make use of our natural blooming beauties and gardens for party decorations.
In planning wedding festivities consider individual gifts of nosegays or tussie mussies for the bridesmaids at place settings. Tussie mussies use small bouquets of fresh flowers that are not only fragrant but represent meaning. Include rosemary for remembrance, lavender for luck, yarrow for eternal love, sage for wisdom, oregano for happiness and heliotrope for devotion. All contribute varying degrees of fragrance, too. Colors range from blues to purple to pink (a single rose blossom) in the center. If you would like a yellow, lemon-scented theme, use sprigs of lemon balm, lemon verbena, or lemon thyme, and accent with variegated pineapple mint, which has creamy white variegation on the foliage and a lovely scent. Add yellow centered chamomile for blooms.
To make nosegays, 6-inch paper doilies can be used as holders. Stack two together and fold into fourths to create a ruffled effect, then cut out centers for insertion of flower stems, which are bound together with dark green florist tape. There is even available 3-inch ruffling, which comes in 6-ft. lengths and is used for decorating cake presentations. It is very attractive and easily cut into desired sizes for tussie mussies.
For added fragrance in bouquets, patchouli foliage and any number of scented geraniums provide lovely texture and fragrance to arrangements. Garlands can be made with boxwood, germander and grey-leaved artemisias. Flowering accents of dianthus, hyssup, feverfew and blooms of salvias give lots of color.
Make party favors of small one and one-half-inch sachet bags of dried pulverized potpourri to be placed at each place setting.
Surround a punch bowl in which Mai Wine Bowl is served with boxwood cuttings interspersed with red blooms of roses or pink carnations.
Recipe for Mai Wine
- 10-12 sprigs of sweet woodruff
- 1 pint brandy or cognac
- 2 bottles Rhine wine, chilled
- 1 bottle champagne,chilled
- 12 large ripe strawberries
Soak sweet woodruff overnight in brandy. Remove herb and strain. Pour into punch bowl and add chilled wines, strawberries and ice. Serves 12. From St Louis Herb Society.
Joyce Driemeyer says she’s semi-retired after more than 25 years as a professional landscape designer. She is a Master Gardener, and volunteers, lectures and conducts classes at Missouri Botanical Garden, and has actively served in both the St Louis Herb Society and The Herb Society of America.