As designers we know the importance of picking the right foliage for our designs. Greens serve as a base for much of our work and give our pieces their foundation, balance, texture, and shape. They usually complete our color palette as well. Some of the work we’re currently doing won’t even have flowers at all, just foliage. So picking the right greens can really make or break a design.
This is especially true when working in hot, desert climates. But just like the blossoms we carefully select, not all greens are up for such a scorching-hot challenge.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, we are very fortunate to rarely have a hot day over 85°F to plan for. But I grew up in the rocky mountain desert where their bone-dry summer days will easily reach over 95°F in the summer months. Sometimes, well over 100°F. So when I travel back to do an event, an outdoor event especially, picking the appropriate product is essential.
Water source or not, if your greens can’t take the heat and begin to droop around your blooms, even if the flowers look healthy and great, the entire piece will look old and sad.
So here for you is a tried and true list of 6 excellent greens that can handle the heat on those bright, sun-shiney days.
Desert native and expert Mandy Ogaz, from The Potted Pansy in American Fork, Utah, weighed in on my list and together we combined ideas to come up with the list below.
Salal (Lemon Leaf)
“It has had a bad connotation for years, but f I’m doing a more low key, rustic wedding, lemon leaf holds up in the heat and still looks great if it dries out a bit!” – Mandy
I agree fully with Mandy. It does leave a bad taste in some designer’s mouths. I personally got sick of using it in every order we took at my first flower shop job. It’s hard to come away from that wanting to use it in my own work, but this stuff is tough! Even as you leave it to dry it hardly changes shape or looks droopy. In or out of water, this leaf will hold its own.
Popular for its blue-green coloring, we’re all seeing a lot of interest in eucalyptus these days. Fortunately eucalyptus dries well, and though it doesn’t soldier on quite as long as salal, it stays strong for a rather long time. This means that even if the hot sun is taking its toll on your eucalyptus, it won’t look too droopy and maintain its shape.
Bay leaf grows well in dry and toasty warm climates and likewise holds up well on warm days. I especially love the look of this one in boutonnieres.
Grown in the south, smilax is acquainted with heat, however it is used to a little more humidity. Keep your leaves bagged, spritzed and in the cooler up until the last minute before you haul it to your event site, and these gorgeous vines will give you several good hours in the heat with no water source.
Strong and structural, huckleberry is often more stem than leaves. They hold up great, sometimes days without water.
Grass dries so well while holding itself up, it agrees very well with dry climates. And with so many varieties out there you can often find a look to match the style you’re working with.
-By Rachel Evans Heath