An Edible Bouquet: Chive Blossoms

Photo by Davin Risk All Rights Reserved

I came up with this idea while on assignment for Budget Living magazine. The idea was approved but sadly the magazine folded shortly thereafter and I was never able to see this concept to fruition.

The editor had asked me to come up with something for wedding season, a request that kind of made me laugh inside at the time because here is where I admit something that will either horrify and alienate a percentage of my readers and/or limit my future potential revenue stream: I don’t care for weddings.

I know they’re really just big, fancy parties but even big, fancy parties are a bit too ostentatious for my taste. I like to have fun, just not when that fun comes at the expense of truly enjoying myself or you know, spending money I don’t have. And the pressure. Weddings are so rife with pressure. The warnings are numerous. This is the most important day of your life, they scream. So it HAD BETTER be perfect! I’ve experienced a lot of drama at weddings over this false premise. During my one and only (never AGAIN) poorly executed maid-of-honor appointment I had to talk the bride off several proverbial ledges over what I thought were inconsequential details like, say, the colour of the fabric that the ring pillow would be made from. It HAD to match perfectly, don’t you see? Except the thing is, it did match perfectly.

Photo by Davin Risk All Rights Reserved

But I digress. Really all of that was to say that if I’m going to come up with a simple idea for incorporating plants into a wedding it’s probably not going to be “normal” and it is definitely going to be frugal. Since the issue was set to publish in early spring I thought it only timely to make a bouquet using chive blossoms, which around here tend to be in season in early May. I mean why not? Chives are incredibly abundant in the garden and pretty darn beautiful in my opinion. Despite the fear that the bouquet might imbue the wedding party with a mild scent of Eau de Onion, I thought it was very bold on the part of the publisher to accept this idea. I have a tendency to prefer very simple, monochromatic bouquets and floral arrangements so I didn’t want to offset it with any other blooms. Just chive blossoms. I mean, this has got to be the cheapest bouquet there ever was. If one had to purchase chive flowers it would cost almost nothing to pick some up at a Farmer’s Market. They sell large bunches at my local for a buck.

When chive blossom season came into effect a year ago I thought it might be interesting to actually try out my idea and see if it really would have worked. I made the bouquet you see in this pictures rather impulsively one Sunday afternoon a little late in the season so the bouquet is not as, dare I say, PERFECT as it could be. I had to use blossoms that were already turning to seed in order to fill out the bouquet but I still think it looks rather nice. And you know what? In the end the onion smell was really very faint. And if the bouquet carrier were to get hungry during a long ceremony, they could always just nibble on the bouquet.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Here’s How I Did It

To pull of my bouquet I just formed a ball of blossoms starting with the centre and working my way around until it looked nice and puffy, all the while holding onto the stems tightly with one hand while positioning each new stem with the other. I then secured the stems in place with floral tape (Substitutions with floral wire or elastic bands will be bulky but do the trick in a pinch.) and covered up the mess with a scrap length of orange binding tape. Any sort of ribbon or fabric scraps will do depending on the look you want to go for, neat and tidy or natural and wild. You can hot glue gun the tape in place but I didn’t bother, after all my bouquet wasn’t being made for a real wedding so it wasn’t built to last. I secured the decorative tape with matching sewing pins I had on hand in my kit and for an added touch of flair included some floral pin covers made from shrinky dinks. Hillary has a great tutorial for this easy-make project on her site Wee Wonderfuls. As you can see from the photos I tied on another contrasting scrap of fabric up near the top and let it hang down like you see in all the really classy bouquets.


Photos by Davin Risk

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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24 thoughts on “An Edible Bouquet: Chive Blossoms

  1. Simply lovely. I have chives flowering in my garden as I type. You have inspired me. I’m going to cut me some flowers tonight.

  2. Freakin brilliant! I was the first of our family, friends, acquaintences to get married 20 years ago and was completely clueless, which fortunately meant I had nothing to compare to or live up to. I recall only one melt down. But I went very traditional. I have so many “if I had it to do over” ideas. This is awesome!

  3. My chives are simply seedlings now, no edible bouquet for me yet. If I was the bride they’d be eaten before I made it down the aisle…
    I also am one of the rare females that DOES NOT CARE FOR WEDDINGS. There’s no such thing as perfection but people will strive for it for their wedding- and will NEVER be happy… never. Why not spend all that tons of money wasted on the “perfect” wedding on a fabulous vacation instead…or down payment on a house…

  4. If people would only remember that the wedding day is just one day — the marriage is forever. Sometimes. Some of the most “imperfect” weddings — you know, the ones where nearly everything goes wrong — have been the happiest I’ve ever attended. Your bouquet idea is brilliant!

  5. I totally agree with weddings, the estimated cost here in the Uk is absolutely ridiculous – its one day. There has recently alot of talk on TV about how people fall out at weddings with on average 1 in 4 weddings resulting in a falling out or worse. I loved the bouquet by the way.

  6. LOL! I always appreciate some functionality along with a beautiful design, so an edible bouquet is perfect. And if a guest says they don’t like their entree, just sprinkle a little bouquet on it.

  7. My sister would have loved this bouquet, if only her wedding hadn’t been in October. My sis had 18 people in attendance (including her, the groom and the JP), wore a dress she already owned, married a guy wearing his father’s pants and a $5 jacket found at the Salvation Army, and the food was pot luck. Weddings are great… ya just got to know how to do them.

    (And no, I’m not married!)

  8. Love the bouquet.

    I absolutely HATE weddings. So, it’s kind of refreshing to see someone else (besides men) feels the same way. Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy. I didn’t even want to have my own really. (We went to Vegas after being together for 15 years) I’m a bridesmaid for the first time this summer – ugh. Too much stress over such silly things.

  9. My wedding cost me $54.27. I shopped at Park Slope Foodcoop and cooked dinner myself for five people. My dress and shoes were dug up from the back of my closet. One year later we spent a week in Killington, VT. No stress, no expense and we had a lovely time.

  10. Justice of the peace $25
    4 peeps
    Ring- my hairband serves dual purpose and comes in many colours
    Clothing from the closet
    Skipped the stress and cost, purchased a truck to haul manure!
    28 years happily married and No! obligations to attend other peeps weddings, showers, engagement parties.

  11. That really is a brilliant idea. I love the image of a bored bridesmaid chewing on her bouquet!

    I have to say that I loved our wedding. It was very pretty and laid back–lawn games in the morning, and I snuck off with some friends to go swimming at the lake a couple of hours before the ceremony. But as for the frugal and not-wasteful theme, our centre pieces were various secondhand bowls and other vessels filled with cherries (we bought a box on our way to the location). It was a huge hit and there were none left over–although I know at least one guest who, ahem, paid for it the next day!

    Love this site. Thank you for fighting the good fight.

  12. The bouquet is beautiful. I want to say for the record that an inexpensive, low stress, high beauty wedding is very possible as long as the couple in question makes the joy of the occasion the number one priority.

    My husband and I got married last june in a riot of home grown plants and colors with no tears, no fights, and lots of joy and laughter. I have been fortunate enough to attend and be in many weddings that achieved these goals. The secret to all of them was a great deal of flexibility, creativity, and a complete absence of caring about “perfection”. Take heart, Gayla, these weddings do exist, and the marriages that result are the ones that last.

  13. All of the “flowers” for my wedding were grown in my mother’s wedding garden…a plot at a local community garden. We had wonderful herbs, chocolate cosmos, gourds and the most beautiful things. Our wedding was October 25th here in Kansas, a wonderful fall day, complete with a snowstorm!

    We had such a great time thinking, planning, planting and harvesting that garden. I really must pull out some photos and post them! Thanks for the memory!

  14. I love the flowers on the allium begin to open up when you bring them inside and put them in water. What once was a tight globe of deep purple buds becomes this explosion of tiny pink flowers.

  15. The bouquet is beautiful! What’s so bad about onion smell anyway?

    The day of my wedding (3 years ago) everybody was saying “oh, you look so CALM!” … I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be worrying about.

    My goals for the day were pretty foolproof: 1. get married, 2. have fun at the reception. I suppose for some brides, “Observe the matching satin at locations X and Y” makes the list…

  16. I am SO glad there are so many of us out there who don’t get wrapped up in the details. I’m not married, but I don’t think I could handle a huge wedding with a massive ‘perfect’ reception.

    A girl I know is currently in talks with her mother about the cake…this is a huge ordeal…kind of cake, kind of frosting, color of frosting, number of layers, filling, cake topper, flowers or flower petals, bands of color that match, the textured design to be drizzled on the outside….OMG, it’s a cake. Does it really matter? I wonder if she is spending as much time preparing for her marriage as she is spending on choosing the cake…

    And yes, families spend thousands and thousands of dollars that could be used to buy a house, or be given to charity.

  17. Wow, others do exist! (Sorry, if I sound like the Christmas M&M commercial.)

    I actually voiced my opinion of weddings being overrated to some female friends and family who believed otherwise. They were incredulous and it was like a big attack (in getting me to see the other side). I guess at times it feels like all we are led to believe all females should be going ga-ga for “the perfect wedding.”

    I’m fine with big weddings, but I find it very refreshing on the occasion when the bride opts for a simple, low-key wedding.

  18. Hi! I love this idea! Did you color the blossoms? My chives all have a lovely lilac color………how did you get the other tones?
    Love your web site!!

  19. Wasn’t Budget Living great? I took Eric Estrada shopping at a nursery so he could make me a little container garden for an article I wrote for them. It was so much fun. I was going to go jewelry shopping with Charo – but, like with you, the magazine went kaput.
    The Editor-in -Chief of BL, Sarah Gray Miller, is now at O Home, Oprah’s Shelter mag… and it looks really good so far.

    I am planting more chives just to get a pretty posy or two out of them. Thanks for the great idea, Gayla!

  20. That is a fabulous idea, I adore the look, but word of warning, Chive flowers have a really strong onion taste. I made a meal of roasted sweet potato and asparagus, with some chive sour cream to go with it and I thought it would be neat to have a little garnish of chive flowers. My husband gave me the “why is there a flower on my plate look,” which is similar to other “why” looks. But I convinced him to try the flower anyway. He’s still a little leery after the acorn incident, but that’s another story. Anyway, he ate it, didn’t say much and finished the rest of the meal. I was not so brave, eating flowers is sort of a mental roadblock for me, but fair is fair and when he saw that I hadn’t consumed mine I was guilted into it. He just watched, with a slight smile, as my eyes watered and I slowly got up and walked to the sink and promptly spit it out with all the dignity I could muster.

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