How to build the perfect fall bouquet: 5 native plants in South Georgia to add warmth in your home.
Updated: Jan 5
As cooler fall weather slowly creeps its way into South Georgia, our cut flower season here at The Flower Shed has ended. However, the shorter days and changing weather does not mean that this must be the end of bringing beautiful blooms into your home.
Many of the flowers we grow throughout the season are not native to our area but thrive very well in our climate. However, flowers that do even better in our region are the native blooms we tend to overlook that surround our neighborhoods and towns. On top of being beautiful, these wildflowers are free!
Lisa Biles, owner of The Flower Shed, loves to add weeds and native wildflowers to her personal bouquets. "Growing cut flowers at my farm has made me appreciate the native blooms that pop up all around my property," mentions Lisa, "I find myself admiring flowers on the side of the road as I drive by and sometimes sneak a few wildflowers into some of my own bouquets." Lisa has grown her TikTok page to over 11 thousand followers where she educates on her experience and knowledge with flowers and farming life. She understands and teaches her supporters how important researching and trial and error is to make a beautiful product.
For this project, I used a helpful resource to identify the forthcoming plants: Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Georgia and Surrounding States by Linda G. Chafin. This is a phenomenal guide that sorts wildflowers of the Southeast United States by colors and families to help with their recognition.
Grab a bucket, some gardening gloves, and your favorite pair of clippers and join us as we discover some of the beautiful wildflowers that will bring some warm fall colors onto your dining room centerpiece. In less than thirty minutes you can easily find all the essentials of a bouquet—focal flowers, line flowers, filler flowers, and accent flowers.
1. Finding your focal flower – Bidens pilosa – Hitch Hikers
Focal flowers are the main attraction of a bouquet. These flowers are vital to the bouquet as being the first thing to grab someone’s attention to the arrangement. These are usually larger petaled flowers. However, for this arrangement the focal flowers are multiple smaller blooms of Bidens pilosa.
The very first flower I found as soon as I stepped into my backyard was the Bidens pilosa, or more commonly known as hitch hikers, black-jack, or beggarticks. These small white blooms with a warm yellow center are a great start to our fall wildflower bouquet. Though highly regarded as a weed, Bidens pilosa have an adorably dainty bloom that can be used as the focal flower for your bouquet. These flowers bloom from July to October and disperse their seeds rapidly as they easily catch onto clothing and land far from their host plant.
Consider picking hitch hikers last to save you from picking seeds off your clothes later as they will unforgivingly pass on their seeds to you during your entire harvest!
2. The prettiest filler flower – Bigelowia spp. – Goldenrod
As soon as I decided on this project, I wanted to make sure that the arrangement ended up sticking to the fall theme. Greenery is used in most bouquets to fill up space that flowers alone will miss. As much as greenery is important in a bouquet, it was imperative for this endeavor that I find a flower to make up for the green that this bouquet would purposefully lack.
Very easily, I found two different species of Bigleowia spp., commonly known as Goldenrod. This flower adds a lot of warmth to the bouquet with their yellow blooms. Notice all of the Goldenrod that is visible in nearly every picture of this blog. This stunning plant is all over our area. They flower from August to November with a heap of yellow per stem. All this color makes Goldenrod the perfect filler flower for your bouquet.
There is a lot of argument whether Goldenrod causes seasonal allergies, however, a quick Google search can tell you that often, the culprit of allergies is Ragweed, not Goldenrod. Either way, be mindful of any flowers you bring into your home if you suffer from bad allergies.
I was curious if Goldenrod dries out and makes a good flower to display throughout other seasons. It has been two weeks of hanging this plant upside down to dry out and it is still just as yellow as when I first brought it inside. If you enjoy dried flowers as much as we do here at The Flower Shed, try drying out any of these native blooms and let us know how they turn out!
3. Adding shape and height with a line flower – Liatrius spp. – Blazing-Star
Line flowers are used in bouquets to help determine the height and width of a bouquet. They often have multiple blooms up the stem that set them apart from any other flower in the bouquet. It was challenging to find a line flower for this project, however, the one that was found was well worth the search.
When I think of fall colors, I often forget how purples have a place in this season’s color wheel. Coming across this beautiful Blazing-Star flower was a reminder that fall is not just for brown, yellow, or orange. Beautiful purple flowers like this Blazing-Star are a great addition to add a touch of brightness in this warm-colored bouquet.
There are so many species of Liatrius spp. blooming around this time, that it was hard to determine exactly what type of Blazing-Star this was. Blazing-Stars are perennial flowers, and their petals are small with a soft and feathery texture.
This was the last flower I found on my walk, and it was the best to happen upon. This plant grew along the ground, tangled in other vines, and had to have been over a foot long in length. It was tricky to get the Blazing-Star from underneath some brush without damaging the blooms, but it was worth it to add this line flower as some height and color in the vase.
4. Choosing the best accent flower – Phytolacca americana – Pokeberry
Accent flowers in an arrangement are there to add to the bouquet without distracting from the focal flowers. These plants are meant to add a unique shape to the bouquet without taking away from the other flowers or its theme.
This was an easy plant to find and harvest as it was right on the side of the road and had a lot of branches to choose from. Flowering May to September, Phytolacca americana, commonly known as Pokeweed, adds a beautiful white bloom to a summer bouquet. But, into October all that is left is their fruit—a deep purple colored berry. This accent flower adds a unique visual interest to the arrangement and the dark color is a great addition to an autumn bouquet.
Pokeweed is a perennial plant that is a favorite snack for birds and is believed to have a widespread distribution thanks to birds spreading its seed. Considering that Phytolacca americana is known commonly as a weed, it can be helpful to change your perspective from believing it to be a nuisance to remarking it as a pretty addition to a wildflower arrangement. If birds love it so much, why can’t humans!
5. Make it fun with this whimsical flower – Callicarpa americana – American Beauty Berry
Adding fun and whimsical plants to an arrangement can completely change its look. Using Callicarpa americana, or the American Beauty-Berry will help tie in the Blazing-Stars that we found before. Having two bright purple plants in the fall bouquet will provide lots of color without overwhelming the yellow Goldenrod.
Beauty-Berry is one of those plants that you have probably seen in your yard a million times. This plant was all over the area I was gathering flowers in. They have so much character that a bouquet of just Beauty-Berries would be stunning. Their flowers bloom between June and July, and their bright purple fruit that we’ve added to this arrangement is a showstopper. Considering its bright color, using the Beauty-Berry as a whimsical flower is a perfect choice.
Using Goldenrod as a flower filler, I did not want to overwhelm the bouquet with Beauty-Berries foliage. As a personal floral design choice, I removed the lime green leaves from the plant so that their bright color would not take away from the vase’s warm fall vibes.
Rushing back home, I was so excited to put all these beautiful finds together to create a bouquet. With my favorite vase and some patience, the project that took about half an hour around my house and neighborhood was finished. As you build this bouquet, consider counting odd numbers for your flowers. Here there are three types of one Goldenrod, and two of another making five total. There are then three Beauty-Berries, three Hitch hikers, three Blazing-Stars, and three Pokeweed stems. There is an old wives tale that says giving an even amount of flowers to someone is bad luck. But this researched idea is a design choice worth considering.
Putting nuisance weeds together to make a stunning fall bouquet is something I have always enjoyed doing, and hopefully you will now too!
Keeping your bouquet beautiful and lively can be a challenge so check out this Instagram Reel that gives a few tips and tricks to help your water stay clean and your blooms last longer. For more helpful information about flowers, flower farming, and more you can check out our TikTok playlist called, “Hey y’all” on our profile here. If you make a bouquet of wildflowers on your own, post it to Instagram and tag us @theflower_shed so that we can see!