Traditional wedding bouquets with a twist: lush, natural creams and gorgeous foliage


This bridal party’s bouquets exemplify my style: lush, full of flowers and foliage to create a collage of color and beauty! These feature some of my favorite dahlias: Beaucon White are the medium cream colored ones, and in each bouquet you can also see one or two Valley Porcupine dahlias, which add a pop of pink to a somewhat monochrome pallette. Seasonal sepia-toned hydrangeas, cream tea roses, and blue toned spiky eryngium and limonium add texture, and I used three kinds of eucalyptus to create variety in the shapes and subtle colors of the greens.


Putting the farm to bed for the winter…

October is kind of a bittersweet month, no pun on bittersweet, that gorgeous, noxious, invasive vine intended!

October means frost, which means the end of most of my flowers, including the dahlias, ageratum, and zinnias that populated so many of my fall-themed bouquets and arrangements.

October means the end of my summer farmer’s market.

October means I only have a few more weeks to make sure everything I want to overwinter has its best chance of making it. This means lots of digging, planting the stragglers, mulching, snipping, and covering.

October means apples and pears the various jams and butters I make.

October means wildcrafting wreath making supplies and dried bits and pieces for winter bouquets.

October means planning for the late fall and winter craft fairs and markets.

And this October means getting my 4-season store open for business! Which is a beast of a different sort!

Dark and lovely bouquet for a boho bride!


To create this bouquet I used all the darkest flowers I could find! Five kinds of dahlias in burgandies, reds, and purples, 2 kinds of foliage, and lots of it, to create a lush look, and lots of limonium, which adds texture and a hint of purple/blue/grey. I also added as many of the darkest spray roses I could find. I don’t really grow roses (at least not in the quantity I’d need to guarantee them for a wedding), but I really love them in a bouquet for their dusky matte tones and in this case, a dark pop of color.

Photo courtesy of Heather Connors Photography.
Photo of bridal party flowers.

Summer Sunset Wedding Flowers in the Hilltowns

(All photos on this page courtesy of Lauren P. Wadsworth Photography)

Photo courtesy of Lauren P. Wadsworth Photography

Generally, a bridal flower consultation begins with inspiration pictures. This bride’s inspiration photos featured bouquets full of orange, peach, and cream colors, with lots and lots of dahlias. The night sky and the solar system were the theme, which made sense considering the day after their wedding was the August, 2017 solar eclipse! Bouquets that were reminiscent of the sunset were the order of the day, and she wanted purple accents as a nod to the night sky.

I was really excited to work on this wedding for a couple of reasons. One, the hues she wanted in her florals included color. Us flower farmer/florist types love the cream and white flowers that brides often choose, but we really love color! So the fact she was asking for it was exciting. Second, she wanted to use dahlias as the showcase flower. This year I planted 130 dahlia plants in about 60 different varieties – more than enough to do this wedding – and coincidentally many of the dahlias I planted were in her color scheme! My Labyrinth dahlias in particular were flourishing and blooming up a storm, and I ended up using them in every single bouquet. Labyrinth are large, semi dinner plate, shaggy, peach-colored dahlias and they draw attention whenever and wherever I use them.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]My wedding bouquet was the perfect mix of gorgeous dahlias and colorful summer wildflowers. It was classy, feminine and I was absolutely delighted. ~Annette A.[/perfectpullquote]August is the beginning of peak dahlia season, and in addition to Labyrinths, I used Cafe au Lait, Ms. Kennedy, Katie Baron, and Moonstruck, and I added in some cream and white roses and a few pink and orange spray roses and tiny carnations for the bridesmaids’ bouquets, which were brighter than the bride’s mostly cream and peach bouquet. For the purple accents I added eryngium, purple stock, and ageratum, and the greenery was Dusty Miller and eucalyptus, both of which have blue tones.

I think she made excellent color choices, especially with the contrast between the oranges and pinks of her bridesmaids’ bouquets and with their dresses, which were deep purple and a navy blue. The end result were classic bouquets, but with an interesting color scheme that really reflected the theme they had requested. I’d add, too, that in asking for a flower that was in-season and plentiful was a smart decision when it came to their flower budget! She knew what she wanted, but what she wanted was something I grew, and by being flexible about the other flowers in the bouquets she was able to keep the price point she was looking for.

Photo courtesy of Lauren P. Wadsworth Photography
Photo courtesy of Lauren P. Wadsworth Photography


About me.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved plants and gardens. In middle school I planted a vegetable garden in the weeds in our yard, giving myself an intense case of poison ivy in the process. In high school I had a garden of houseplants lined up in front of my window. During college, I supplemented my publishing internship working at a plant nursery and florist, which I enjoyed much more than filing book jackets and answering the phones .

I went on to teach high school, work as a librarian, start a non-profit, freelance in publishing, advocate and speak about parenting children with special needs, and write books, but it never occurred to me to follow my original passion until circumstances led me to manage a farmers’ market. I saw first-hand how people were making a living from their land, honoring all things local, and creating lives connected to nature. I resolved to do the same.

In 2015 my family moved to western Massachusetts after 21 years in central North Carolina. The move meant a lot of things to us: better opportunities for my younger son, who has a neurobehavioral disorder, a change in employment (for the better) for my husband, and for me, learning a new climate that included a harsher winter than I was used to, understanding native plants, invasives, and trying to make new connections in my community.

Our rustic little house came with a barn, a shed, an outhouse (!) and almost 3 acres of sandy, but fertile soil. I set to work.

The result is Passalongs Farm and Florist. I started out selling at local farmers’ markets, added a roadside cart in 2016, and in 2017 set up a 4-season floristry design studio, specializing in personal, thoughtful floral design for special events, weddings, and special occasions.


Late summer/fall Flower share!

I am so excited to offer a second flower share CSA this season! The first share, which started in July, was a great success, and based on the flower situation I will have about triple the flowers the end of the season that I’ve had the first half!

Think DAHLIAS, people.

The flower share works like this:

You choose either farm/market pick-up OR delivery, and each week I’ll have a gorgeous, very generous bunch of flowers for you! These are about twice as large as my farmers’ market /roadside flower bunches, but less than twice the price even if you include delivery! You and I will decide on a mutually agreeable pick-up or delivery day, and you don’t have to be home for me to drop them off.

The flower share lasts 6 weeks, and will run from August 27 – October 1.

Pick-up at farm or market is $80

Delivery (anywhere in greater Northampton and Easthampton, including Florence, Leeds, Williamsburg, and even parts of Westhampton): $110

I can take cash or a check but I prefer Paypal.  To ORDER: please visit my FLOWER SHARE PAGE.

Year 2: flowers I’m loving, flowers I’m not

This is half a note to myself for next year, half a blog post!

Now that I’m smack dab in the middle of year 2 of my little flower farm, I’ve developed some clear favorites and discovered some flowers that simply were not worth space or money. Some are too fiddly and not very impressive, some are kind of ugly, and some simply aren’t worth the bed space.

Plants I grew this year that I could do without:

delphinium. I know! It’s gorgeous! Its blooms make a nice flower crown. But in the kind of arrangements and bouquets I’m doing right now it’s too tall to use effectively and it flops over. Plus, when I started the seeds a mouse ate all but 10, then out of the 10 only 2 did much, then the ones that grew were gorgeous, but like I said, not practical for what I do.

statice. I have really mixed feelings about this stuff. I think it’s ugly, but it provides good stiff structure for some of my floppier flowers. It grew really easily from seed, though, so that’s a plus.

celosia. I bought celosia plugs and they’re doing awesome, but they are very, very ugly. Maybe I bought the wrong kind (Sunday mix) but every single one is orange or red. There was supposed to be pink and salmon in there, too, but there isn’t. Maybe once the zinnias and dahlia start popping and I have more hot flowers I will like them, but for now they don’t go well with anything I have.

allium. Gorgeous, I know, but the chipmunks or whatever garden rats are out there ate every single one. Same with the anenome and the ranunculus. They are expensive but if I have to grow them in individual wire cages they are too fiddly for me.

Things I love (new this year, besides the obvious dahlias and peonies!) or wish I’d grown again this year:

orlaya. Brilliant overwintered hardy annual. Will definitely plant again in the fall.

garland chrysanthemum. I didn’t grow it this year but really wish I had. It was such a nice little flower to add to arrangements, it smelled sweet, and it grew from seed super easily. The foliage was pretty, too, and added some airiness and green to bouquets. I might start some now to try to get some for fall. I had hoped I would get volunteers but I didn’t.

ageratum. Blue! Study stems! super easy to start!

clary sage. So easy to grow and while the flowers are small, they add a really nice pop of color, they started early, and the foliage was one of the earliest fillers I had.

nigella. I don’t know why I fight the nigella! I should just give in to its hoop house domination and grow as much as possible. The flowers are gorgeous as are the pods, and the only thing I’ll change for next year it to provide support, because flopped over and bent it’s not much use.

More filler! And preferably something perennial. I’m definitely investing in some mountain mint plugs for next year, and while I like the scented geranium it is not holding up well at the roadside cart as it sometimes gets full sun.

There’s a pattern here: more small, useful, hardy filler flowers and greens, especially those that I can easily grow from seed or find in plug form, and fewer fiddly, expensive corms and bulbs and focus flowers.