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Deconstructing California-style bouquets

California has long been a hub for style — not just in flowers but in popular culture — so it’s no surprise that the California styleor California look in bouquet design is also currently on trend and in demand. It could be said that any bouquet with no roses, poms or carnations could be considered a California-style bouquet, but this notion oversimplifies what makes California bouquets so popular.

The California-style bouquet incorporates seasonal flowers, which are being harvested in various growing regions up and down California. Whether it’s sunflowers in Fallbrook, stock in Santa Barbara, or lilies in Arcata, the California-style bouquet revolves around what flower farmers are harvesting. This creates a constantly changing palette of colors and textures.

CALIF-BOUQUETThis California-style bouquet is currently on trend and in demand. Today’s consumers don’t want the same bouquet on their table every day, or even every season. They are excited to explore new flowers and welcome the chance to purchase a truly farm-fresh bouquet, made with American-grown flowers. With added certifications such as BloomCheck — which guarantees the flowers were grown in environmentally and socially sustainable conditions — consumers are buying bouquets featuring the vast selection of crops grown in California.

The California-style bouquet represents what is in season, much like you would find at a farmers market, except you can find them in mass-market retailers across the country. This style blends nicely with the wildflower look, which is trending in wedding and special events design work. Also, consumers want simple elegance, less formality and more spontaneity.

Bruce Brady, vice president of business development and marketing at Mellano & Co., echoes this thought, saying, “At Mellano & Co., we’ve sought to make bouquets that reflect the best locally-grown flowers from California or the western United States. These unique flowers, coupled with more of a garden-look style, offer customers an alternative to bouquets made off-shore.” 

Regardless of season, California bouquets have an eye-catching presentation. They are handmade in the classic spiral pattern and feature a strong element of “line,” meaning the use of tall flowers such as delphinium, stock and lisianthus. In their essence, they are all about texture, which is usually created with flowers such as maticaria, green ball dianthus and similar crops. The focal is often lilies, sunflowers or proteas, with a strong supporting role played by Matsumoto asters, iris and gerbera daisies.

Rodi Groot, the Sun Pacific bouquet manager and product coordinator at the Sun Valley Group’s Bouquet Division, explains, “California-style bouquets combine many unique and interesting elements. Herbs and foliage used in our creations are not the ordinary greens used for bouquet making. Ours are light and airy, as if picked right from your garden. Each bouquet made with California-grown flowers is timed perfectly for its own specific season. Bulb flowers such as iris, delphinium and lilies are available year-round because they are grown close to the Pacific Ocean where the conditions are exactly right to grow attractive and interesting flowers. “

California flower growers are able to bring consumers farm-fresh bouquets, which speak directly to the notions of seasonality and sustainability, with the added charm of California style. California flower growers are the farmers market of the United States.

Bill Prescott is the marketing and communications associate at Sun Valley Floral Farms in Arcata, CA. He can be contacted at