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Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach®


Amy Balsters

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Perfect Late-Summer Blooms for Every Bouquet

The sounds of cicadas drift in on a breeze, the sun sets before 8 PM, and mom mode is back in full force with activities and a *new* Online Color Course that deep dives into color theory for anyone who works with flowers!

Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach®

Summer is slowly but surely coming to a close, but not without a great last splash. From zinnias to cosmos to grasses, garden beds, and field rows are filled with the best seasonal and local flowers


This flower is a favorite backyard bloom, and thanks to new varieties in shades like peach and butter yellow, it’s become a popular design flower in the last decade. 

When working with zinnias, I do my best to only source locally. They can have longevity issues and bruise easily, so buying locally ensures freshness and quality. Savvy flower farmers also grow the most unique varieties. The standard rainbow “Benary’s Giant” colors like high-saturated yellow, orange, red, or hot pink work great for some palettes, but I tend to be drawn to varieties like Queen Lime, Queen Red Lime, and Zindarella, to name a few. 

Don’t overlook dwarf zinnias and other small varieties as well, they are perfect for bouquets! Ranunculus can be hit or miss this time of year, so zinnias are a perfect substitution for that similar round shape and size in designs that can float a bit higher and add depth to a design.

Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach® working with grasses as she builds a bouquet from her yard


I’m a big fan of ornamental grasses in design work. They add texture, line, movement, and visual interest to any bouquet or design.

There are countless varieties available but ask your growers and wholesalers what ornamental grasses they can get and you will likely be presently surprised. I particularly love sea oats, quaking grass, explosion grass, and bunny tails, but I’ll reach for anything that can add a touch of lime, brown, plum, or gold.

Amy Balsters, The Floral Coach® instructs other florists how to design using grasses


Plume celosia is another great texture for creating lines in bouquets and comes in beautiful colors, a favorite of mine is the mauve and lime green. 

I, however, avoid large coxcomb for bouquets. They are visually dense and physically cumbersome! They tend to be top-heavy and often have large, bulky stems. One tip I teach designers in Bouquet Bootcamp® is to focus on selecting the thinnest stems possible when making bouquets that will be held so the plume variety works best if needed in bouquets. 

Using larger coxcomb is a great fit for color, texture, and depth in larger designs and centerpieces. 


Another bloom I tend to avoid is more standard hydrangea varieties because of their physical and visual weight. However, many landscape varieties like Lace Cap and PeeGee add an elegant and more transparent and linear contribution to bouquets so I welcome them in garden-style design!

Lace Cap is more delicate and is a better fit for bouquets or table designs. PeeGee hydrangea antiques into a lovely pink shade, and is wonderful in large-scale design work. 

Late-Summer Flower Inspiration

The Floral Coach® selects her favorite late-summer blooms

It’s a great time of year for foraging. Seek out berrying branches for added texture and interest. When foraging, do a hydration test before including in designs.

The Floral Coach® selects her favorite late-summer blooms

Foliage will change from now until frost (and beyond, depending on the item!). Use at every stage for a seasonal touch.

The Floral Coach® selects her favorite late-summer blooms

Echinacea can be vibrant and oversaturated when it opens, but it antiques as it ages. Its colors will become more tonal and are beautiful for romantic palettes. If the petals are damaged or aged, take them off and use the pods for a touch of rust! Avoid using pokeweed when the berry color starts to change to dark plum. The berries will stain linens and wedding dresses!

The Floral Coach® selects her favorite late-summer blooms

Zinnias will lose saturation as they age. This is a great way to soften their shade for wedding day. It’s a delicate balance, though. In doing so, you may compromise its quality!

Are there any special local blooms that are unique to your area, or are there any seasonal favorites I’ve overlooked? Let me know in the comments! 

And next on the blog, I’ll dig into the all-time summer and fall favorite, dahlias because let’s face it, they deserve a blog of their own!

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  1. Thank you for your inspection all and very helpful blog.

  2. Hello, First of all, thank you. It was a very pleasant work. I wonder if the white flowers in the first picture are lisianthus?

    • Amy Balsters says:

      The first picture includes white aster, white cosmos, and white zinnia. The second picture of flowers contains the same! Is that the picture you meant? Thanks for following along! – Amy

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