Dried flowers lose their museum look when you choose the right blooms and the right settings. Here is how to create everlasting appeal.
Whether they come in a long white box or from the side of a country road, flowers have the ability to stimulate happiness. With a few helpful hints, a short history lesson and the palest green thumb, anyone can fill their home with flowers.
A good place to start is to source flowers at a farmer’s market. The idea is to find flowers that can last beyond the fresh-cut season. Hydrangeas, baby’s breath, roses and delphinium are readily available and all dry very well. Also look for flowering plants that will yield spectacular blooms. Again, the hydrangea is a good choice as well as lavender. Both can find homes in container gardens on a sunny terrace or in an established garden. Gourds are another great purchase. They are inexpensive and make wonderful lasting autumnal accessories.
Once the flowers have been purchased or garden has been raided, it’s time to create everlasting beauty. Be sure to place flower stems into cold water as quickly as possible after cutting to ensure a long-lasting bloom.
Filling a room with fresh flowers is a decadent treat, but it can be so easy and inexpensive. It just takes following a few steps. Begin by gathering containers. Collect the same number as varieties of flowers. No need to be intimidated by the process of arranging flowers, simply choose containers of similar color in various shapes and heights to complement the lines of the flowers. Tall, thin delphinium needs a tall vase with a narrow opening. Full, round hydrangeas need a bulbous vessel with a wide opening. Simply gather like flowers into separate containers. Cut stem lengths no longer than one inch above the rim of the container. To extend the life of your arrangements, change the water frequently and trim the stems.
Cluster several bouquets together for a dramatic look or scatter a few throughout a room for subtle, fresh accents. Enjoy the brilliant blooms until the very first signs of wilt. This is the time to collect the flowers for yet another wonderful treat.
People have been drying flowers since ancient times for a variety of medicinal reasons, religious and royal ceremonies, utilitarian purposes and for fragrances and cosmetic products. The Victorians took the process and made it into a form of art. Dried flowers graced clothing, jewelry, hair accessories and artwork, and filled homes with sweet aromatic scents. The practice is one that should be continued today. Being surrounded with dried flowers is as romantic as ever.
How to dry flowers
To dry flowers, gather together three or four stems and secure them tightly with a rubber band. The tension of the rubber band will remain tight as the stems shrink during the drying process. For a decorative touch, wrap raffia around the rubber band. Create a hook with a small piece of wire or simply clip a clothespin to the raffia. Suspend the flowers upside down in a dry, dark space until the petals feel like paper.
Tip: It’s a good idea to label the bouquets to remember a special event, such as an anniversary gift, or note the origin of the flowers for future purchases.
Dried flowers are very fragile and need a bit of care when handling. One trick is to lightly spray dried flowers with matte clear spray paint to help protect them from sun fade. Once dry, the ideas for display are endless. Showcase the flowers in simple vases, create stunning wreaths or wrap the stems with a beautiful ribbon and lay the bouquet on a desk or bookshelf. Keep the loose petals and add them to bowls of potpourri. For a spectacular fall display, place dried gourds next to the centerpieces.
Tip: Protect your arrangements by keeping dried flowers away from direct sunlight and damp or humid spaces.
For more information on Melinda Graham, visit surroundingsbymelinda.com.
Written and photographed by Melinda Graham