Crispy delights: the resurgence of dried flowers
The wet winter months leave flower plots looking like gloomy seas of mud and the prospect of ‘dry’ anything seems like heaven to the colour starved British flower florist at this bleak time.
So many British grown flowers make stunning dried blooms which can be used for colour in the depths of winter – think Lady’s Mantle, dahlias, ranunculus and peonies, as well as the usual suspects like roses, hydrangeas, strawflowers and larkspur. Drying spare blooms is a great way to help a small business with a ‘no waste’ economy, as so many flowers are just tooooooo pretty to end their life on the compost heap! Remember though that to keep the best colour in dried flowers, they are best cut before the heads are fully open.
Many flowers can be easily dried by hanging them upside down somewhere warm and dark ( e.g in a shed in summer) but the challenge lies in preserving their desiccated state once the damp months of autumn roll around – usually necessitating a move to an indoor, heated space (I imagine flower growers’ spare rooms across the country filled with crispy treasures in winter.)
So once the flowers are dried, what to do with them? Dried arrangements for weddings are now very much back in vogue, allowing brides and grooms to keep and treasure their original bouquets and buttonholes for months or even years! Cotohele a National Trust property in Cornwall is famed for its annual 60 foot dried flower Christmas garland, using flowers grown on its estate. The 2019 trend for mixing dried ingredients in fresh bouquets to add exciting texture and depth to bouquets and arrangements also shows no sign of abating in the year to come.
Instagram abounds with hashtags, celebrating desiccated delights – my favourite being the evocative #lovelydeadcrap which features everything from floral clouds of dried pampas and fluffy gypsophila to Miss Havershamesque roses wilted serendipitously in a vase. It’s a great photo showcase of faded glories both in nature and in the florist’s art. Take a peek and see how dried ingredients are given the same creative treatment as their fresh cousins in creating wild and wonderful floral features.
To inspire your creativity with dried flowers once you’ve taken the trouble to preserve your pretties, here are some ideas from Flowers from the Farm members.