Tag Archives: dried flower arrangements

Choosing Your Own Flower Arrangements

When choosing your own flower arrangements it is important to remember that the displays selected should adequately match the look and feel of each room. The best way to do so is to take into consideration the function of each. Since the functions differ so too should the displays vary to ensure that those chosen are appropriate. Another factor that can help to determine appropriate arrangements is the season. Summer will treat some flowers differently and while some may thrive in winter, they may not be the best choice at other points in the year.

Where do I Put Flower Arrangements?

The dining room is one of the rooms that are often popular since family dinners and gatherings are often kept here. Dinner invitations play a big role in most families’ social lives which means that having company at the dinner table is a frequent thing. Be sure to choose an arrangement that flows with the theme of the room since this is more than likely going to be noticed. If multiply arrangements are being used, be sure to have complimenting arrangements. You can use flowers that are related or similar but vary in hues.

A centre piece on the table can give any dining room a makeover without much being changed. Be sure to match arrangements to present décor or find one that contrasts but doesn’t conflict so that it can not only catch the attention of visitors but also brighten the room instead of blending in. Be sure to check each angle to ensure that the desired effect is captured no matter how it is turned. A centre piece that is truly successful is one that impresses no matter what angle it is being viewed from. Thinning or flaws are bound to be obvious.

Living rooms with fireplaces give the perfect opportunity to create a floral arrangement using seasonal plants. Textures and hues of flowers chosen should match the seasons; summer time calls for shades of greens and blues while winter best suits yellow, red and orange.

Dried-flower arrangements are ideal for the bathroom. For example, dry-flower arrangements may require shallow glass bowls with grooved patterns (color depending on the color of dried petals). A tinted one would be perfect for an arrangement that uses a scented candle as the focal point since the candle when lit may reflect on the glass and give it a ‘glow in the dark’ effect.

The kitchen windows can be decorated with pots of your favorite herbs since they can serve culinary as well as beautification purposes. Use herbs that can handle the heat and be mindful to keep them fresh. Hanging arrangements made of foliage plants, grass and grains can also be used.

Regardless of the room, the right container for your flowers will enhance the beauty of your arrangements. Painting old pots and pans can help to achieve looks from other eras, so too can ceramics and glass containers whether clear, colored, plain or patterned. Length, width and type of flowers will help determine suitable containers as well as season and themes.

Flower Drying Equipment

You will find it easier to create successful displays with dried materials if you use the appropriate equipment. You should he able to obtain the following basic items from a good florist shop or suppliers.

Adhesive clay: this may be used to set trunks in pots for topiary displays or to hold down baskets so that they do not over balance under the weight of a large display.

Candleholders: these plastic fittings are available in a range of sizes. They have a star shaped base, which is easily pushed into dry foam to hold a candle.

Canes: if you are creating a very large display, you need to extend the length of a stem by taping it to a cane. Canes can also be used to create a square or triangular frame for a garland, or to fix terracotta pots in a display.

Chicken wire: this is a useful base for some displays (moss balls, for instance) and can also be used to hold flowers in large containers.

Copper or steel rings: these in fact comprise two thin wire rings, which are used as the base for garlands. They are particularly useful if you plan to build a garland with heavy items.

Florist’s adhesive tape: this is excellent for binding blocks of dry florist’s foam together. It can also be used to hold foam firmly in a container.

Florist’s clear sealer: a type of fixative, like a clear lacquer or very light varnish, which is specifically used on dried materials. When sprayed on to a display, it holds loose material in place and will also help to keep it clean.

Florist’s foam: this is usually grey or brown and available in rectangular blocks, spheres and cones. It is best to avoid foam that is intended for fresh flowers, because it tends to crumble if it is used with dried materials.

Florist’s wire: these are available indifferent lengths and gauges; it is best to use wires that are as thick as you can comfortably work with and to buy long wire which you can cut to length. Whenever possible, use the specified tools and materials, it always makes a display much easier to create. The heavier the material, the thicker the wire you will need to hold it in place.

Glue gun: this is extremely useful as it dramatically reduces the time needed to make a display (it is much faster to use glue than to wire materials). As with many things, better quality guns are more expensive. A gun with a trigger feed for the glue is easiest to use. Take care not to burn yourself.

Gutta percha tape: this is used for wrapping around false wire stems.

Mossing (floral) pins: these are readymade pins that are used to hold materials in place.

Pliers: use these to secure and twist florist’s wire, chicken wire and so on.

Raffia: is traditionally used by gardeners, this makes an attractive binding material, particularly if you want to achieve a rustic look.

Reel (spool) wire: this comes in a range of gauges and is essential for making swags and garlands. Experiment with different thicknesses until you find one with which you like working.

Sharp knife: this is invaluable for cutting dried florist’s foam to size as well as for cutting woody stems of natural materials. Keep knives in good condition and cut away from yourself to avoid injury.

String: if you prefer, you can often substitute reel (spool) wire with string. The type used for gardening tends to be most suitable and comes in a range of brown and green colors that blend well with dried materials.

Twine: Strong sting or twine is essential when tying spiraled bunches, making garlands or attaching foliage to gates and posts.

Wire cutters: used to cut medium and heavy gauge wire.

Wire mesh: used to strengthen plastic foam and stop it crumbling when large numbers of stems are pushed into it.

Scissors: sharp dressmaker’s scissors are best for cutting fabric and ribbons. Resist using scissors to cut stems or the blades will quickly become blunt.

Secateurs (pruners): a strong pair of these will cope with most material. Always use a pair that feels comfortable to work with.

The advantage with ready made cane rings is that they are fairly inexpensive, readily available and simple to use. Any type of container can be used to hold a display. However, if you plan to use something made of glass, place a piece of dry foam in the centre of the container, and then pack potpourri, quantities of moss or even colored glass stones, around the foam so that none of the working will be visible.

Flower Drying

The key to drying flowers is to remember that you need to remove the moisture from the flower or other plant material as quickly as possible. The simplest form of flower preservation is air drying as it requires no special materials or expertise. It is excellent for beginners. Moisture is removed from the petals by the circulation of air using no preservative. Flowers will dry if there is no residual moisture from rain or dew. Choose perfect specimens only and remove any large leaves as they become shriveled and unattractive when dried. Smaller leaves can be removed by rubbing them off after drying if you wish.

Gather the stems into small bunches but not too large or they will rot. Fasten each bunch with elastic bands, which will contract as the stems dry and shrink. Hang the hunches heads down in a dry, dark, airy place. Some plants are best dried upright, so their pendulous nature is preserved. Simply prepare them as normal and place in a completely dry container. Other ways of drying flowers are preserving foliage in glycerine and using desiccants, both of which are covered alongside.

Do not allow dried flowers to become damp and be particularly aware of condensation in bathrooms and on window ledges. A rewarding aspect of dried flower arranging is drying and preserving the plant material yourself, such as bunches of lavender

PRESERVING FOLIAGE IN GLYCERINE

  1. Choose a container large enough to take the foliage and add the glycerine.
  2. Top up with two parts hot water to 1 part glycerine to a depth of no more than 8 cm/3 in. Mix well.
  3. For wood-stemmed foliage, cut and split the stem ends, then place in the glycerine mixture immediately. For calyces, seed heads, herbaceous foliage and soft stemmed leaves, allow the mixture to cool first then stand the container in a warm, dry, dark place.
  4. Check the container every day and top up with fresh glycerine mixture if necessary. You will notice the foliage changing color as the glycerine is gradually absorbed. Wipe the stems dry after removing from the mixture.
  5. If the leaves have absorbed too much glycerine they will look oily and be prone to mildew. If this occurs, immerse the foliage in warm water with a drop of washing up liquid, rinse, shake off excess water and stand in a warm place to dry.

More dried materials are available to buy than ever before, but many plants can be dried successfully at home. Make up arrangements using a combination of home dried plants and other more exotic bought ones, such as the large Banksia coccinea used in this lovely dried arrangement.

DRYING WITH DESICCANT

  1. Spoon a layer of silica gel or borax into a container to a depth of 1 cm/1/2 in. For silica gel, use a clean airtight container. Preserve one layer of flowers per container to avoid damaging them.
  2. Continue sprinkling the material so the crystals gradually cover the flower. Continue until there is a 1 cm/1/2. in layer on top of the flowers.
  3. If using silica gel, cover the container with a lid or with kitchen foil sealed with tape to make it airtight. Label with the plant name and date. If using borax, do not seal the container, but leave in a warm place with a constant temperature, such as an airing cupboard. As a rough guide, miniature flowers may take 3-4 days to dry, roses 7-10 days and fleshy flowers, such as orchids, 2-3 weeks. To test the flowers, gently scrape back the desiccant and remove a single flower. If it looks dry, flick it gently with your finger. If it makes a crisp, papery sound it is dry. Pour off the desiccant, catching each flower as you do.

FLOWERS THAT DRY EASILY

  • Artichoke and cardoon (Cynara), Bells of Ireland (Mollucelia)
  • Cape honey flower (I’rotea), Chinese Lanterns or Winter Cherry (Physalis)
  • Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), Eucalyptus
  • Flowers from the onion family (Alhum) Globe, thistle (Echinops)
  • Helichrysum
  • Hydrangea
  • Kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos), Love-in-a-mist (Nigella), Statice (Phsylliostachys),Yarrow (Achillea)