Updated: Jul 22
I recently had a conversation with one of my customers in the shop about dried flowers. It was interesting to hear her views.
Let me mention that I love using dried flowers…. not just flowers but any dried or decayed plant materials. Whether it is for creating wedding floral designs, a casket spray for a funeral or a dried flower installation, I find them intriguing! People often look at them and only notice them being ‘dead’, but have they ever allowed themselves to look further?
Dried materials are magical. Not only that but they are the perfect element for sustainable floristry (as long as they are natural). Just the thought of how one living organism goes through a huge transformation within a short period of time, changing its appearance, colour, shape and texture, is mind-blowing. Think of Nigella - it is an annual plant, completing its lifecycle within a year and goes through a huge transformation during that time: starting with the seeds dropped by the previous plant early autumn, lying dormant over the winter months and starting its new life when the soil warms up in spring. Then it grows into this whimsical little creature with the most delicate feathery foliage; you just want to sweep your hands through it.
In summer the plant matures and produces beautiful flowers of soft blues, pinks and whites. Sometimes they blur with each other, adding a mystical touch to their appearance. Although they only flower for a short time, dropping their petals soon after getting pollinated, they don’t stop being beautiful. Once the ovules are fertilised and preparing to turn into seeds, the ovary starts to expand, turning into a pod, containing all the seeds and with a wonderful shape. Each Nigella species has slightly different looking seedpods - Nigella damascena, (which we most commonly use in floristry) has round, greeny-pink seedpods with little green feathers; Nigella papilona has an amazing star shaped cup-like structure and Nigella sativa has an ovular pod to hold its seeds.
Talking about Nigella Sativa: if you ever had a Naan bread, you have eaten part of this plant! You know black cumin? Well, that’s the seed of this plant but is not related to actual cumin. Doesn’t it taste delicious though!
Once the seedpods dry out and begin to loose their colour, they keep their shape and texture. I love adding the dried seedpods to flowering material - they bring a wonderful texture to the arrangement but can also make us think more about how we can enjoy plants at all times of the year, and include a more natural, sustainable and locally gown plant at all seasons.
Understanding horticulture and working with nature and the seasons allow me to deliver this experience authentically.
I used Nigella just as an example, as many of you might be familiar with this plant and I also incorporated them in a bridal bouquet recently for a wedding in Caldicot Castle, South Wales. However I wouldn’t stop there. Almost anything could work in certain designs, so I like to collect all kinds of plant materials and experiment drying and using them with little going to waste.
This brings us back to the beginning of this blog, and my conversation with the customer. She didn’t understand why certain seedpods are available in the florist shop, as she doesn’t find them attractive - I currently have Crocosmia and Rocket seedpods which sustainably I dried last year.
I explained that not everything looks good on its own or in specific floral designs. However, they certainly will have a space somewhere, where their unusual shape or interesting texture can make all the difference in an arrangement.
I love the cycle of being part of something real, natural and eco-friendly, something that celebrates all lifecycles with an open mind and heart!