Mixing Fresh And Dried Plants In Flower Arrangements

Mixing Fresh And Dried Plants In Flower Arrangements

In some cases whole plants can be used. For instance the bromeliad cryptanthus, not unlike starfish in appearance, can be used as the focal point in a dried arrangement. These plants can be watered by spraying the foliage, should you find it difficult to reach the pots once these are arranged.

Fresh flowers can be mixed with dried ones and indeed you can achieve some very pleasant compositions this way. Make a good background of perpetuelles around an empty vase, preferably cone-shaped, pushed into the container near the rim. See that it can be lifted out and replaced easily. This can be kept filled with fresh blooms, berries or foliage. One successful arrangement I made like this was in a copper samovar. The outline was of pressed bracken, teasels and graceful seed heads. The fresh flowers were red anemones.

It is well worth while to make a table arrangement of dried flowers to store away. When you have unexpected guests and no time to arrange fresh flowers, an arrangement like this can be carefully slid from its clear plastic dust-sheet and used to greet and to cheer the visitors.

Making a dried arrangement

You will need to assemble a good quantity of materials. Flower for flower you will need more for a dried arrangement than for a fresh one.

Incidentally, if you are not bound by time and essential routine, it is a pleasant pastime to assemble these arrangements little by little as the materials come to hand, rather as you might paint a picture at weekends. This way you are most likely to get a delightful variety of materials and some highly individual arrangements.

But whatever method of assembly you adopt you must begin, of course, by selecting your containers. Remember that dried materials are light in weight and choose either heavy containers or weight them in some way. Gently pour some small gravel or some sand into the base of any vessel which is likely to tip over when filled. It is surprisingly easy to knock over a dried flower arrangement unless the container is weighted.

Perpetuelles look lovely in well-polished metals, but there usually comes a time when the metals need cleaning, not an easy matter sometimes when they hold a mass of flowers. Sometimes it is possible to lift out the arrangement without undue disturbance and to replace it in one piece after cleaning the container surfaces.

White vases and clear pastel colours are suitable for almost all dried materials. They seem to endow their contents with some of their own freshness. Usually gleaming textures look better than matt surfaces, for unfortunately these often pass on a dull effect to the dried flowers they hold.

To hold the stems I use OASIS and find that the very frail stems of grass and some dried flowers like rhodanthe need only be inserted a fraction of an inch into the plastic to be held quite firmly. And this again means that they need be handled only very lightly. Often if you have to push them down among many other stems into the wire netting you can bend or break the frail stems. The plastic block is used dry, of course. I find that arrangement is facilitated if the block projects a little way above rim level. You will then be able to push the side stems in quite easily.

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