Last Friday, our incredibly lovely Director of Customer Care Rebecca got married. And very casually, on the Monday before her wedding, she posited a question to me in Slack:

My wedding is this Friday and I’m doing my own flower arrangements.

Let’s take a pause here to appreciate the fact that Rebecca is a complete badass. Moving on:

I know I for sure want ranunculus and anemones but I’m not sure what sort of filler flowers to use…

Okay, so it wasn’t phrased as a question, but I knew what she was thinking: Outside of “baby’s breath,” which is more of a funeral flower than a cutting-edge wedding bouquet helper-outer, what flowers (and other plants) can play supporting roles in modern tabletop arrangements?

7 Easy Spring Arrangements for Every Personality (Some Without Flowers)
7 Easy Spring Arrangements for Every Personality (Some Without Flowers)
by Amanda Sims

The florally-fluent might find the term “filler flowers” problematic, implying that certain elements of an arrangement are an afterthought. (Several of the floral designers who I asked about their favorite filler flowers shot back with this admonishment.)

And okay, fine. But for those of us who aren’t professionals, but who do want to create arrangements with visual interest and a mix of textures and sizes, it’s helpful to think about subtler, leafier, smaller-bloomed flowers that can play second fiddle to the super-stunners we know we want to spring for. So let’s talk about that. Here’s are a bunch of suggestions, from the flower lovers in our office to some of our favorite professionals:

  • I love quirky, fluttery jasmine for the way it can inject any arrangement with whimsy.
  • The laciest sprigs of fern you can find add geometry and softness.
  • Alexis, our Art Director, often springs for silver-dollar or seeded eucalyptus, for a change in scale and volume.
  • She guards against Queen Anne’s Lace, which can wilt quickly, for a wedding.
  • Emily Thompson, of Emily Thompson Flowers, says, “we use branches for this purpose—from flowering magnolia, spirea, and quince to plum, birch, dogwood.
An Emily Thompson arrangement, using branches for volume and contrast.
An Emily Thompson arrangement, using branches for volume and contrast.

  • Nicolette Owen, of Nicolette Camille was also wary of the term “filler flower” but gave me the benefit of the doubt and suggested herbs—”mint, thyme, basil, sage… All are beautiful greens with varying leaf shapes and of course a beautiful scent”—as overlooked supporting players.
  • Anna Potter, of Swallows & Damsons, loves eucalyptus stuartiana, which “is a more green-toned eucalyptus with pops of pinks and yellow mottled through the leaves It’s incredible! The veins of the leaf are also really prominent, making each stem totally unique.”

Friday flowers 💥

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An Anna Potter arrangement using eucalyptus stuartiana (see how it’s golden at the tips?).
  • She also uses waxflower as a filler flower: “It has a blossom-like quality and lasts such a long time. If you snap a stem the citrusy scent that escapes is one of my favorites.”
  • For something a little more playful, bauble-like brunia is a favorite of Anait Tamanian at Stems Brooklyn.

You might be wondering what Rebecca went for—and that would be seeded eucalyptus and those feathery ferns we love. Pretty perfect, right?

we done did it!!!! #married #thegreatbaskalisburymerger

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What “filler flowers” do you love to use in flower arrangements?

from Food52