My Guide to The Most Effective Dried Flowers to style in the home

October 15, 2018

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Dried flowers are having their moment in the world of interiors at present, but not in the old fashioned pressed between pages of a book kind-of-way. No, modern dried flowers are all about structure and impact. I’m a huge lover of natural history so I’m all over this trend, but even I will admit I’m starting to tire a little of the number of times I’ve seen pampas grass arranged just so in a vase on Instagram! Why? Because there are so many other things which look wonderful dried in the home. I’ve been using dried flowers and grasses around the home for several years, and give full credit to the floral stylist who led a workshop I attended years ago who collected dried flowers himself and got me thinking. I’ve picked up a few pointers along the way, with some flowers that refuse to be dried and others that turn very soon after, in fact our front porch (where I do most of my drying) can attest, many things have been experimented with!

 

Wild urban poppy seed heads foraged out and about.

If you like to reflect the natural world in your home, whether it be through plants, entomology or wood, then this may be a trend which really speaks to you too. I have been drying out flowers and grasses from the garden, keeping back particularly nice elements of bouquets (always do this, not all will take, but those that do pay huge reward) and foraging the odd bit on my travels, you really can source everywhere when you start to look around. For example, the mini poppy seed heads you see in the bedroom (above) were gathered on the walk home from school, growing between the cracks of the pavement.  And then there’s the flowers with a story, like the vase of Love in The Mist (below) which we have in the hallway as a reminder of the gorgeous wedding we attended in summer of our good friends Nick & Poppy.

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Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

The very pretty ‘Love in the Mist’.

Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

One of my favourite grasses, the purple hued Pennisetum Hameln.

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I love the skeletal delicacy of dried flowers, they have a fragile beauty which is just lovely dotted around the home. So, today I thought I’d share some shots from around the house of the various things I’ve collected over the years and as an illustrated guide to my favourite varieties of dried flowers and grasses, the ones I have found most successful, and with a few tips along the way.
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Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

A collection of grasses.

Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

Dried Fennel Flowers are perfect for drying as they keep their architectural shape.

Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

A wilder arrangement of Fennel flowers.

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Grasses:
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As grasses seem to be having a real vogue at the moment, let’s plunge in with those first. I have two main winners in this category and both have a pink-ish tinge, though this may be coincidental! I have taken Pink Muhly grass (main image at top of piece) from several bouquets over the years and highly recommend it as they always look so pretty in vases, they keep enormously well, in fact most of my collection of this comes from a flower delivery subscription two summers ago. In the garden we have Pennisetum Hameln and I always gather this up at the end of summer, it’s beautiful purplish hue fades over time but should last through to winter providing a great flash of autumnal colour wherever you place it. If you ever come across wild grasses growing where they shouldn’t then pick them, I have a small collection I’ve gathered from all around including some which were growing in the passage way by the bins, there really is beauty everywhere!
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WARREN EVANS TEMPUR MATRESS TIPS FOR A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP, Scandinavian Monochrome bedroom design ideas and inspiration (1)

One of my favourite combinations to display – eucalyptus with pre-dried cotton flowers.

WARREN EVANS TEMPUR MATRESS TIPS FOR A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP, Scandinavian Monochrome bedroom design ideas and inspiration (1)

Pretty in a vase or on a wreath, cotton flowers are abundant in good florists in the late autumn and early winter.

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Architectural Flowers:
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The best flowers to dry are those with an architectural structure, such as alliums, ammi majus (cow parsley), protea, and my very favourite, fennel flowers (which happen to grow in abundance from the one fennel bulb we planted in the garden). I have Fennel flowers in several rooms and love looking at them through the harsh winter months when not much is growing outside. Cotton flowers which you see in the images above, can be easily picked up at florists in the run up to Christmas and they never fade or tarnish. Eucalyptus dries very well (and looks great with Cotton Flowers) but doesn’t last past about six months as the colour starts to turn an unattractive yellowish-green. I tend to buy a bunch of eucalyptus and once they stop smelling of fragrance tip the water out and keep them for the six months until they’ve faded. Final flower on my list is delicate Astrantia, these dried in the garden by chance this summer and I love their pretty daisy like structure, they are delicate and fragile but rather architectural too.
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Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

A mix of Fennel flowers and cow parsley in the kitchen.

WARREN EVANS TEMPUR MATRESS TIPS FOR A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP, Scandinavian Monochrome bedroom design ideas and inspiration (1)
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I’m still learning about my favourite varieties, so surprised by how effective they can look in place of fresh blooms. I’d love to know of any other varieties that you’ve successfully dried. Keep me posted in the comments below.
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I see buying a good bunch of eucalyptus as good investment, these stems will easily keep for six months before they begin to turn.

 

 

Three Tips for Drying:

Where possible let things dry naturally. If you have something growing in the garden that you’d like to keep, let it come to the end of its season and begin to dry before you cut it, this helps flowers to keep their shape and discourages them from wilting. Except for one rogue variety, don’t leave thistles to dry for too long on their stems in the garden, they brown very quickly!

Find an area of the house which is bright, not damp and won’t be disturbed. I use the recess of our porch to dry flowers in.

Hang the items you want to dry upside down. Check on them every few days and monitor how they are drying. I sometimes find that popping blooms back in water for a few days when I start drying can help them to hold shape. 

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Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

Faux dried Queen Anne’s lace mixed with dried fennel flowers.

Styling Dried Flowers and Grasses in the home, a selection of my favourite best things to use, ideas and inspiration

A simple spray of purple tinged Pennisetum.

All images: Design Soda.

 

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