Flowers & Foliage: Fall and Winter Seasonal Insights and Advice


By Lisa Roy, owner and lead designer, Flora Bella

I adore the shift from summer to the crisp autumn and winter months.  The season provides antique hydrangea, dinner plate dahlias, and, best of all, an abundance of foliage, grasses, and seedpods.  Pairing foliage with your bloom of choice is an important detail when planning your wedding or event.  Incorporating interesting varieties of foliage can provide texture and personality when used consistently throughout your floral décor.  Shifting your ratio to favor more lush foliage can provide beauty and significant impact; what better season to do so than autumn and winter?

We provide much of the stunning foliage used in our work from our own pesticide-free urban gardens.  Our list of foliage plants is ever-growing depending on our latest experiments and inspirations.

Photo by Emma Freeman Photography

Photo by Emma Freeman Photography

Before the first frost, we have access to an abundance of textural foliage.  Several varieties of kale grace the garden and become brighter and more hardy in cool weather.  We’re fond of variegated and unusually colored hosta leaves.  Coral bell leaves in subtle gradations from bronze to wine are the perfect accent in boutonnieres.  Japanese fern and dusty miller add hints of silver.  Scented herb varieties and delicate cascading maidenhair fern fronds remain pretty until Jack Frost bites.

Autumn unfailingly brings seedpods, which may just be my favorite.  Fuzzy clematis, maple seedpods (helicopters), and acorns often adorn my work this time of year.

Our fall season is fleeting and once the snow arrives I’m just as smitten with my wintertime loves, grown by local farms who supply a vast variety of foliage.  I adore scented cedar and pine.  Birch, dogwood, and moss-covered branches provide interesting color, texture, and pretty stem patterns.

Since harvest times are variable throughout the season, the best case is when we have a stellar crop ready, along with open-minded, trusting clients committed to using what’s truly in season.  In-season varieties are not only best in size, color, and quality, but also a smart investment and an environmentally responsible choice.  Trust your florist and allow for flexibility in seasonal flower varieties as well as various color tones within your desired palette.  We know our materials and will always have your vision in mind.

Photo by Emma Freeman Photography

Photo by Emma Freeman Photography

Fall weddings are increasingly popular, but the idea of having a winter wedding in Minnesota has instilled a certain degree of fear in the hardiest of couples.  Brave locals planning winter nuptials should know there are usually some floral and foliage varieties grown just for a special appearance this time of year.  Beauties such as amaryllis blossoms, anemones, orchids, magnolia, and the occasional peony may be available, but will also come with a higher price tag.  Extra sparkle provided by candlelight paired with winter white is always a classic motif.  It’s the perfect time of year to incorporate subtle metallic tones and decadent fruit such as pears and pomegranates.

I’m obsessed with color and believe it will prime the atmosphere for your wedding.  Fall and winter weddings invite rich saturated tones of wine, garnet, and coral that become more brilliant when paired with with champagne and grey-green.  Incorporate a wide range of tones to add depth and diversity.  Deep smoky slate, bronze, and plum are lovely colors that are perfect for the season and provide mystery and a hint of sophistication.  Accents of cool aqua can create the perfect base for a winter woodland look.  Be open to out-of-the-ordinary color combinations and trust your florist’s expertise in finding seasonal blooms in hues that best enhance your color scheme.

Include interesting, sentimental or found objects that encourage interaction with your floral decor and other guests.  The placement of an interesting object, container or accent will often stop your guests in their tracks for a closer peek as well as unify the personalized components of your décor.  Feathers, seedpods, and moss provide a refreshing change and are lush with inviting texture.  Cloche-covered objects invite curiosity whatever the vibe.  Include textiles to provide softness or a punch of color and custom stationery to tie it all together.  Incorporate flower-filled apothecary bottles and delicate pedestals for an eclectic vintage twist.  Wooden crates, silver coupes, and urns provide a rustic formality while the use of classic white ceramic creates a more modern aesthetic.  Be playful and inventive with your materials.  Most of all, remain calm, bring your sense of humor, and enjoy the process.  Our collaboration will be a smashing success.

Photo by Lisa Roy

Photo by Lisa Roy

Flora Bella creates lush and vibrant floral with unusual or unexpected elements.  Striving for an artful balance of color, texture and form, Flora Bella works with modern, clean and classic elements as well as organic, natural forms with movement and depth – all while staying true to the honesty of the materials.  For more information go to

Emma Freeman strives to make her photography business part of her bigger plan of building a vibrant, sustainable community through relationships, art and social justice. Her photography pairs her nostalgic, emotional tendencies with warm, beautiful colors.


Photo by Lisa Roy

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