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Wedding Flowers Fresh Cut out of a Garden

 A D V E R T I S E M E N T 

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Owner of Indian Hills Garden, Lin Donald and Celli Carlie Baker choosing flowers for her wedding bouquet.

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By Pam Jung,
July 24, 2003

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They're free of chemicals, colorful, locally grown, and gorgeous-all things that make the flowers from Indian Hill Gardens, Nevada City, especially attractive for weddings.

Husband and wife Tom Manuel and Lin Donald, both in their 50s, started their garden business over 4 years ago, devoting 1/3 of the 3 1/2 acres under cultivation to flowers. There was never any questions about whether to go organic or not. They are passionate believers in living in harmony with the earth, which means composting and never spraying anything toxic on growing things.
"You wouldn't want to have sprayed flowers on your table or on the cake," says the former landscape designer rhetorically, "would you."

While the garden boasts of over 100 flower varieties, flowers blooming in late summer/early fall include zinnias, cosmos, dahlia, phlox, painted tongue, and asters. They also grow gourds, which can be used very effectively in a fall wedding.

You can buy flowers by a colorful bucket for $35. In addition to flowers, such a bucket might also include some ornamental grasses, such as purple fountain grass, spikes of burgundy red amaranth, and a plethora of fragrant flowering herbs. A bucket is enough to handle either two tall alter arrangements or 6 short table bouquets.

Group participation is encouraged at the gardens. For instance, a couple can come a month ahead to do a walk-through of the acre plus of flower beds to see what is and will be available. A week before the wedding, the bride is invited to hand pick her bouquet, choosing the color and types of blooms she wants. That bouquet gets put into the frig to serve as a prototype for the actual bouquet that will be fashioned the day before the event.

One of the many flowers to choose from to design your own bouquet at Indian Hills Garden.

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All of this can be done with as many or as few of the family members as wanted. But Donald says the most fun she's ever seen was when a family that was being blended by a second marriage got everyone, from the mothers of the couple to the sisters, aunts, and kids, together to arrange flowers and make bouquets.

"It gives kids a feeling they're contributing. It gives joy to the family as they work together. It makes my heart soar to see families having fun. Flowers can be a hugely uniting force." That is, if the bride can let go of the desire to control the process, she adds.

For example, in one family group each kid made her own little bouquet. All these bouquets were added together for the bride to carry. When she tossed it, the bouquet separated into its components, and more than one woman had the pleasure of catching the flowers.

Because the flowers are not sprayed with anything toxic, kids can handle them, folks with allergies can handle them, they can be put safely on the table, and such blooms as violets, nasturtiums, and roses can even be eaten.

Flowers in bloom at Indian Hills Garden.

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What's the most popular flower color? The blues, like periwinkle, and the burgundies, says Donald.

What's the cost? "Much more affordable than a florist, that's for sure," she says. "$700 might buy from the florist the bride's bouquet, some altar flowers, some corsages and boutonnières. For that much money using our flowers you could decorate the Miners Foundry from top to bottom." Typical expenditures for her flowers usually range around $250 to $300.

Getting your flowers from Indian Hill Gardens can be an enjoyable, and affordable, family affair.

Call Indian Hill Gardens at 530-265-3334 for an appointment and directions, just 7 minutes from downtown Nevada City.

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