Designing With Flowers: Are There Any Flowers You Refuse To Work With?

Preston Bailey Altar

Preston Bailey Altar

Dear Preston:

I have noticed that you tend to use a limited type of flowers in most of your your floral designs. As a new florist, I am interested in knowing if there are any flowers you refuse to use and why? I love all kinds of flowers and am very curious to know your answer.

Flower Lover

Dear Flower Lover:

I recall an article I read a few years back that laid out the “good” and “bad” flowers to use at a wedding. This list began with the “bad” ones which said that gladiolas and chrysanthemums reminded them of funerals  and carnations were “cheap”. The “good” flowers included roses, peonies and orchids.

In my world, there are no bad flowers; all are perfection.  The truth is that good and bad are arbitrary statements; the like and dislike of a flower is very personal and mostly effected by our own history.  I once had a bride who told me that she hated lilacs because they created a mess in her backyard when she was growing up. Another couldn’t stand the smell of roses because they reminded her of an aunt who wasn’t particularly kind.


I happen to be in love with soft, romantic flowers such as  roses, orchids and hydrangeas,  but the decision as to which flowers to use is made ultimately by my brides. If they love gladiolas, I can assure you that we will think of a way to use them at their wedding.  On a more practical note, we, as designers must think of durability when we choose our flowers.

Readers: Are there certain flowers that you do not like? What are your three favorite flowers to use? Are there any you do not like?