Bringing the outdoors in – Fresh and Dried Arrangements

Using a single type of flower in mass makes a timeless arrangement

As some of you may know, I was the sole proprietor of a floral crafts business. It was during the heyday of English & French Country design, and everything revolved around bountiful floral creations. Although today the trend is more towards the tropical end of the spectrum, my heart still lies with the roses, boxwood, and other botanicals which I am so fond of working with. As the summer moves forward, many flowers in the garden are getting to the perfect stage to be dried, and I would like to share a few insider tips.

Here are some ways to dry flowers without having them end up looking dried. Many think it’s difficult to achieve, but it’s actually quite easy. One of the best ways is simply to lay them flat on an old screen in a single layer. Another way is to hang them in a small bundle. Both ways should be in a room with good air circulation (sometimes using an oscillating fan helps), and keeping them out of direct sun.

Small bundles of roses hang to dry in my workshop.

Most require only a couple of weeks to fully dry. Some of my favorites for drying are roses, hydrangea, amaranths, safflower, larkspur, yarrow, cockscomb, and liatris. There are many that dry exceptionally well and retain their colors for a long time. Botanicals that dry well include boxwood, lamb’s ears, artemesia, lemon leaves, branches like curly willow, eucalyptus and of course moss of all kinds.

Another method of preserving is with glycerine. This requires submersing the botanical in a tub of glycerine and water, and can be a bit messy, but the end result is a very pliable stem. This can also leave a shiny layer on the foliage, so it’s best used on branches, like eucalyptus or boxwood, not flowers.

A current, and highly popular style of arranging is using a single type of fresh or dried flower in large masses, it really plays up the beauty of the specific type of flower used, giving it importance.

Gerbera Daisy stems are supported by Apples in this arrangement.

It is a style of arrangement anyone from beginner to expert florist can create and be proud of, and is the most requested design of florists nationally these days. Also a popular trend is filling the vase with fruit or nuts, or wrapping the stems with a large leaf. This can also serve to hold the stems of the flowers or branches in place.

I hope I have given a second chance to some beautiful flowers by way of drying and enjoying them inside in the months ahead. In my house I love having reminders of how my garden bloomed, and just bringing the outdoors in to enjoy again and again.

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