Flower Class: Glorious Gerbera Daisies

Let’s talk about these spectacular “gerbs”!

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Q: What’s the 5th most popular cut flower in all the world?

 A: That’s easy to guess, since it’s the subject of this flower class: the amazing Gerbera daisy!

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 If you’re curious, the world’s most popular cut flowers are: 1) the rose 2) the carnation 3) the chrysanthemum 4) the tulip and 5) the Gerbera daisy. We will definitely be talking more about all these flowers as my classes continue ~ but now let’s talk about these daisies!

 

The Gerbera daisy (also known as African or Transvaal daisy) is very popular and widely used both as a decorative garden plant and as cut flowers. Shorter names include “gerber” and in the floral trade, we affectionately call them “gerbs.”

As a florist, it’s P8061733so much fun to work with these irrepressible flowers, and I’ve used them in countless weddings. They exude happy vibes that say loud and clear : “Let’s have a party!”

COLOR! COLOR! COLOR! Not only do these stylized, disc-shaped flowers come in white, but in many vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink, as well. Their centers can be yellow, pale green or black.

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As you view all these bouquets, notice how the flowers ~ just by their colors and their informal shapes ~ create the ambience of each distinct wedding. And of course, the high energetic vibrations they emanate define the meaning of flower power at its best.

 

My happy introduction to Gerbera daisies…

The first time I was asked to design wedding flowers around Gerbera daisies must have been at least 20 years ago. I had heard of Transvaal daisies but never been aware of them for wedding work until one darling bride showed me pictures of what they looked like.

She told me with sparkling eyes that she wanted her whole wedding to be filled with gerberas in shades of pink, coral and white ~ and since I am in the delightful profession of granting every bride’s fondest wishes, I knew I had to rise to the occasion and make it happen, even if I knew not one thing about how to handle a gerb!

 I had to learn how to care for them, as well as how to work them into bouquets, with their unusual, large flat shapes. For me, this bride’s request was the beginning of the gerbera daisy craze ~ and they have continued their appeal and are still requested by brides even now. 

You may have observed that flower types are as much a design trend as home decor, fashion design or any other aspect of the design world. You see flower popularity most often in wedding bouquets, because once a “new” flower shows up on the front of bride magazines and starts gaining popularity, it seems to appear everywhere!

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First, there was the wild popularity of Gerbera daisies, then it seemed as if hydrangeas had been discovered for the first time! Calla lilies also had their long run at the top of the “flower favorites” list, and now we see the gorgeous peony and its multi-petaled companions, the ranunculus, the English garden rose and even the long-neglected carnation coming into full fashion focus!

For several years, every time I was at the flower market, I would see hundreds of huge flat cases of Gerbera daisies being carried out of the warehouses on carts and shoulders of vendors. The demand was enormous and I had never seen anything like it! 

 Since the first time that sweet, petite bride requested gerbs as her wedding flowers, I have had many opportunities to work with these vivacious flowers ~ and I have loved every minute of it! They always take center-stage with their bold shape and vibrant colors, and it’s impossible not to be cheerful in their presence.

 Gerbera daisy photos from my wedding files:

     These first photos are from the playful celebration of a deliriously happy bride & groom who had found each other after years of searching for “the One.” The colors they chose were hot pink and bright orange, accented by lime green ~ colors so fitting to express their joy and their laid-back personalities, and the big daisies were perfect to carry out their bright candy-colored theme.

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Above: One of the flower “pomander” balls for the darling flower girls ~ first lined with moss, and then covered with these beautiful fresh daisies.

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Left: Decorative floral spray for wedding arch. Rt: Two flower girls.

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This is how the dining tables looked. We placed shallow glass bowls on top of mirror rounds (which instantly doubled the size of the centerpieces) and floated several Gerbera daisies in them, along with small white floating candles. A sprinkling of bright rose petals completed the effect ~ and it was dazzling!

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     Next: For this black, white & lime green wedding, the bride wanted nothing but big white Gerbera daisies with black centers ~ and we used dozens and dozens of them to make her wishes come true. The look was striking and very unique ~ just like that beautiful bride!

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     Here’s yet another wedding using bright pink gerbers mixed with orange roses and other beautiful flowers. The bride’s bouquet is at left, and at the right is a photo I snapped ~ of a husband dutifully holding his wife’s bridesmaid bouquet while she dashed off to hug the bride. 

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For this wedding, I also created huge flower rings on Oasis foam bases for all the dining rounds. I used lots of stock, roses and azalea greens with accents of the bright Gerbera daisies.

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     This next bride totally surprised me with her color choices! She was extremely quiet, restrained, hardly spoke a word ~ and yet, she announced that she wanted hot, vibrant pinks everywhere, accented with black-and-white polkadots. Such a bold color theme ~ the exact opposite of “restrained,” and one I never would have predicted. But she was very sure, and was obviously expressing an important part of herself through flowers and vibrant colors.

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                  The bride’s bouquet
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Simple centerpiece: A circle of loose gerbers on a black straw mat, surrounding a glass hurricane that we embellished with stripes of black polkadot ribbon in different widths. Splashes of bright petals and votives on the table finished the bold, dramatic presentation.

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Left: Boutonniere. Rt: One of the poufy bows we tied to the entrance rails, setting the bright, sophisticated theme for the celebration.

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Tall bouquet for mantel: Hot pink daisies mixed with lime green Bells of Ireland, berries and button mums; scarlet roses; pink and white larkspur, roses and stock; and ti flowers for filler. A band of black polkadot ribbon circles the black vase.

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And here’s another example of a wedding full of these sunny, fun-loving, beautiful flowers on a hot California summer’s day: 

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A huge spray of Gerberas, green Bells of Ireland, delicate orchid sprays & greenery attached to an antique wedding arch.
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                  The bridal bouquet
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Rows of white lawn chairs set up for the ceremony, with jars full of Gerbera daisies and greenery on the grass.
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A large floral arrangement waiting to be placed in the center of the outdoor buffet serving tables.

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And finally, here’s my favorite! This was the autumn wedding of a darling young couple in the Sierra foothills, and to match their joyful celebration, the venue was filled with riotous warm colors featuring the beautiful Gerbera daisies as the focal point that tied everything together, as they always do…

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It’s obvious these huge, dramatic daisies are the stars in every bouquet they’re placed in, and they just can’t help stealing the show every time. 

These amazing, fun-loving flowers definitely do make a party, and I hope you will take the opportunity to use them in your own celebrations and floral creations soon!

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PREVIEW OF WHAT’S NEXT:

Hillary and I are preparing for another big wedding in a couple of weeks, so I’ll take you on another trip to the S.F. Flower Market in a few days, and will also show you photos of our work-in-progress as we go along, as I did on my post “Just Another Wedding Weekend.” 

6 thoughts on “Flower Class: Glorious Gerbera Daisies

  1. What a great trip you took us on with these large daises. Can hardly wait for your next blog of the wedding you are planning.

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    1. Lulu — I am equally astonished at my little gerbers in pots outside. They’ve lasted for at least 304 years. They’re often labeled “annual” – but Wikipedia says “tender perennial” – even though mine seem much tougher than tender! What are your other 2 favorite flowers?

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