ISSUE 16  |  Going Green

Grow-Your-Own Wedding Flowers: Will Tara’s Tulips Bloom on Schedule?

April 27, 2014 10:00 AM

BY Jeanne Rostaing

Arranging a wedding for more than 150 guests is never easy, but Brooklyn gardener and floral designer Tara Douglass, owner of Brooklyn Plant Studio, raised the bar when she decided to grow her own wedding flowers. The wedding will be in Columbia, Missouri in the historic home where three previous generations of her family also got married. Last November she traveled there to plant 4,325 bulbs. (You can read about that trip in Tara Getting Married: DIY Wedding Flowers.) Will they bloom on schedule?

Now the wedding is just a week away–scheduled for May 3. Recently Tara went home to see what sort of progress her bulbs had made through the long, hard winter and the delayed spring. Her dad and aunt had been giving her reassuring updates, but she still didn’t know exactly what she would find. Imagine her relief when she got to the old vegetable garden where she had planted 500 tulip bulbs and found them standing tall and on the verge of blooming.

Photographs by Scott Patrick Myers.

Above: Tara inspects her tulips, which she interplanted with garlic to discourage deer.

To keep the tulips from coming into bloom too soon, Tara’s Aunt Tina will work with Tim, who works at the farm, to move the tulips (cleverly planted in pots) into the shelter of a tobacco barn on the property. 

A “woodsy romantic feel” is how Tara describes her plan for her wedding flowers. Beside the tulips, other bulbs that were emerging and may be in bloom are Spanish bluebells and Actaea (Pheasant’s Eye daffodil).  

Above: Frittilaria and muscari are already in bloom, Tara says she will use their seed pods if the flowers are finished before the wedding.

Tara plans to arrive in Missouri five days before the wedding and says she is comfortable waiting to finalize her designs until she knows exactly what materials she will have to work with. Her friend Kelli Galloway, a floral designer, will come along to help as will various friends and family members.

Above: Daffodils greeted Tara when she went home recently.

Above: Arrangements will be filled out with fronds of wild ferns, cedar branches, iris foliage, and perhaps even antique lilacs, all to be foraged from the property.  

Above: Tara’s dad is having the family home repainted for the wedding.

Tara and her fiance, Wells Crandall, a lawyer and physics researcher who sometimes moonlights as a weekend wedding DJ, will be married outside on a brick path in front of the house.  Guests will be seated during the traditional ceremony, which will be conducted by an Episcopal priest. Cocktails on the patio will follow, with dinner served in a tent. Of course Mother Nature has been misbehaving lately and there is the matter of a not-so-great forecast in the Farmer’s Almanac, so Tara has reluctantly come up with a rain plan.

Above: Magnolias in bloom at the house where Tara will be married on Saturday.

Above: The planned location of Tara’s wedding ceremony.

Will it rain?  Will the bulbs bloom in time? Check back in May for a full report.  In the meantime, if you are curious about what bulbs Tara planted and who her suppliers were, here’s her list:


  • 200 Tulip ‘Queen of the Night’
  • 300 Tulip ‘Maureen’
  • 200 Allium Azureum caruleum 
  • 300 Nectaroscodum siculum

Color Blends:

  • 200 Winter Aconite (“This is a winter teaser for my father and aunt, winter aconite is a cheery yellow in the doldrums of winter,” says Tara) 
  • 500 Spanish Bluebells
  • 225 Actaea
  • 200 Allium Christophii
  • 800 Muscari
  • 600 Fritillaria megalis 

Brent and Becky’s

  • 300 Frittilaria uva vulpus 
  • 500 Tritelia hyacinthi 

Spoiler alert: want to know how the wedding come off?  Take a look at part 3 of Tara Getting Married.

You can read about another springtime outdoor celebration in Remodelista’s In the Garden with Diane Keaton. For tips on following in Tara’s footsteps, see Secrets of Growing Your Own Wedding Flowers.