‘Just don’t let them get wet!’
That’s what I’ve spent the last few weeks telling my customers when they have bought dried flowers from me, and there has been many! Mini vases and dried wreaths have been my biggest sellers since lockdown, with enquiries about confetti for next year too!
I started drying Hydrangeas from the gardens of my local WI group as soon as I arrived to East Rudham in Nov. 2019, I would see bags full of them outside the shop in the mornings. These women were determined not to let them be wasted, so I had to promise to give them away or make something out of them. I wanted to have a go at making dried Hydrangea wreaths, like I’d seen on Pinterest, so I tied them up with string and hung them from some of my shelves, all throughout the winter people kept commenting on them, so after giving away lots I actually only had enough to make two wreaths with! But it got me thinking about wanting to dry more. It wasn’t until COVID-19 hit that I had, for the first time, a surplus of flowers and no customers, I panicked, but I wasn’t prepared to watch hundreds of pounds of fresh materials rot in front of me, so I emptied all my buckets, made lots of little bunches, hung them up, then left.
I went home, cried for a few days about the destiny of my little business and vowed to make back the money I had spent on that last order (one that should have been the most profitable of the year, Mother’s day).
4 days later I returned to my shop to find lots of brown flowers hanging up, but on closer inspection some gorgeous dark pink spray roses, Eryngiums, Astilbe, Eucalyptus, and Astrantia & Lavender. From then on I was hooked. Any odd stems that didn’t sell at the end of the week got collected and up on the beam they went.
It’s been the best experiment ever and you’ve all gone mad for it! Next on the agenda is pressing them, and once I find out how, I’ll make sure to let you know!
The way I dry my flowers is to re-cut stems, take off any excess foliage and hang them upside down and away from any damp! I leave them up there until I want to use them, checking their progress every couple of days.
I import most of my flowers from Holland so I can get hold of varieties that aren’t necessarily in season here in the UK. But for those of you at home wanting to give it a go, it’s all about trial and error. Get a few cuttings from the garden or on a walk, and once they are starting to go over hang them up and see what happens! Some flowers may not dry particularly well but their seed heads are beautiful instead. It all about reducing waste and having a display that lasts.
Good luck & happy drying!
P&P’s Top 10 materials to dry
Roses both spray and standard- The bigger Roses take longer to dry as they hold more moisture! But have been a staple for anything dried with me.
Delphiniums (Larkspur) – All colours and all parts of the flower are fabulous to dry, my new favourite I reckon!
Eucalyptus – The variety ‘Cinerea’ is particularly good as holds it shape and colour best.
Lavender – the size, colour and scent is perfect for confetti.
Eryngiums (Thistles) – They keep their colour very well and are great to add some texture, although I wouldn’t recommend putting in confetti as they can be quite spikey!
Hydrangea – Some hold their form and colour better than others so it’s very much a case of trying a few, these also dry very well from being left in the vase after they’ve drunk all the water- so my customers have said!
Eustoma (Lisianthus), although they take a little while to ‘crisp up’ they make beautiful confetti materials as they hold their colour excellently.
Astilbe – The perfect little filler flower and great for wreaths.
Sweet peas – I was worried about these at first as they are so delicate but they were perfect for confetti as the colours remained bright although the form suffered a little.
Dahlias – These took a good week to dry as they hold a lot of moisture but once they had they looked lovely in a vase and created lots of petals in muted shades for confetti.
Regional Reporter - Eastern England
Hello Lovelies! I’m Bronwen, Owner of Partridge & Peony Floral Design, based in North Norfolk. I'm an avid tea drinker, Gamekeeper’s Girl and Dog Mumma. Happiest when surrounded by flowers...Or with a gun in hand!