For a fun and authentic approach to Thanksgiving decor, create floral arrangements that feature flowers native to the United States. Most of these plants should be available at a well-stocked florist, and many may even be in your own garden.
There are many interesting flowering plants that are native to the New England region, where the first Thanksgiving was celebrated. Some of these flowers may have even been in early settlers’ gardens.
Yarrow features tiny clusters of flowers atop slender stems. Two of the most common colors of yarrow are burgundy and yellow. It blooms throughout the summer and into the fall, and is easy to dry. Yarrow may have been used by colonists for medicinal purposes.
Butterfly weed, or asclepias, is named because it attracts large numbers of butterflies to its brightly colored flowers. In the same family as milkweed, butterfly weed grows freely across New England in warm shades of orange, red, and yellow.
Coneflowers are frequently found across New England. The flowers resemble a conical daisy, mostly in ivory or dusty purple hues. Coneflowers are often referred to by their scientific name, echinacea. They, too, may have been found in pilgrims’ gardens for medicinal uses.
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By broadening our range across the United States, we find many more native flowers that would make a beautiful addition to autumn bouquets.
Rudbeckia, or black eyed Susan, features yellow petals with a black or brown center. Lesser-known varieties may include accents of orange and bronze coloration. These flowers are similar in shape to daisies and bloom in late summer and early fall.
Irises are native to 49 states in the US and are found in striking shades including yellow, plum, and rust. While they are not likely blooming in the wild during this time of year, it is easy to find a nice selection of fresh irises from a florist.
California poppies are common in the western US and grow in vivid tones of yellow, red, and orange. Most specimens have only four petals, but they make quite a bold statement. Poppies will add a distinct pop of color to your floral arrangement, and are available from many florists.
A native flower bouquet would make a thoughtful host or hostess gift for someone who is a gardener or history buff. This project might also be a fun way to teach kids about different aspects of colonial life.
We can connect with early American settlers by honoring their traditions and remembering the spirit of the first Thanksgiving. Whether you create a floral display entirely of native flowers, or feature just a few mixed in with other blooms, you’ll be celebrating American heritage with a festive flair.