Designing with Dried Flowers & Foliage | Floristry Tutorial

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I’m often asked about designing with mainly dried or preserved foliage’s and flowers do I have any tips and tricks to ensure the completed design comes together nicely. Well, here are my thoughts about dried forms, they are just that – dried or past their best. What was once a lush bloom or foliage has lost its lustre and all moisture, but to me they still retain visually interesting textural qualities along with dulled tonal values.

I think the trick to ensure that the completed picture looks correct is to veer away from any thing shiny like glass or metallic’s and stick to earthenware, rustic finishes and something dull in tone works best as a container. Designs using these forms have come and gone throughout my almost 50-year career, but each time they return, what was once never used becomes trendy and fashionable or with the passing of time, did we just become more relaxed. I’d like to think relaxed is best and as my constant source of inspiration, Constance Spry was known to say, ‘the difference between a weed and a flower, is just a matter of opinion’. Isn’t that wonderful? So, lets dive into designing with dried materials.

There are no hard and fast rules, but stick to a container that is equally dull in finish and appearance as indicated above. As I was taught, get the base structure right and then use your eyes to select what’s in and what’s out.

You will need:
- Chicken wire to fill cavity of container.
- My design uses dried off giant white king proteas and a few banksia cones. As King protea die off you will find that after a while, the inner bracts/petals will drop out. Pull these and put the blooms into a very low and slow oven to completely dry off or crisp up, and then hit them with several coats of hair spray.
- This will help keep the last remaining petals fixed, but they will fall in due course.
- My container has a soft whitish concretey look and feel, so I’m sticking with this colour-way along with pods, sticks, honesty, baby’s breath &
- Because they dry off nicely a few sprigs of bay – the green will give depth to the finished design.
- I couldn’t find dried off wildflower, but I did unearth a bit of artificial pink. At times you can use artificial as long as it’s hidden beneath other forms. The lustre of these can visually hinder the end result.

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