Thinking of ways to make a floral bouquet last even longer? The new book
by Flowers Forever: Celebrate the Beauty of Dried Flowers with Stunning Floral Art Bex Partridge (Hardie Grant, 2022) takes a fresh look at dried flowers. The book covers growing, drying and working with flowers, and also offers advice on how to source materials sustainably. Flowers Forever showcases 10 modern designs including tips for creating a flower cloud, wall-hanging arrangements and gorgeous tablescapes. “I aim to inspire you and show you how to work with materials throughout the seasons to lift your home environment or special occasion by creating sustainable, long-lasting installations,” says Bex.
Scroll down and celebrate the beauty of dried flowers!
Author Bex Partridge (
pictured) moved from a busy town to a more rural location that offered space and tranquillity. “This move has allowed me to go from growing my flowers in a small, yet incredibly productive town garden and allotment, and further increase my knowledge of working with dried materials.”
“Dried flowers can be dramatic and awe-inspiring, particularly for those who haven’t experienced them before. I continue to be amazed by how fascinated people can be by flowers in this form.” Bex understands that dried flowers have gotten a bad rap since the heady days of the 90s. “I love nothing more than to change a person’s opinion about dried flowers. For this reason I’m conscious when working with dried flowers that I continue to push my designs to ensure they stay fresh and enticing, and challenge people’s expectations and beliefs. The beauty is in their decay, in their translucent petals that catch the light and their soft kaleidoscope of colors and textures.”
Keep scrolling for some of her best tips for creating dried floral arrangements!
Control The Room Temperature
Keep flowers that are drying at a constant ambient room temperature. A room that is too cold may delay the drying process which can affect their color and appearance. While some plants need a bit of extra warmth to dry well (such as dahlias), for the most part, long exposure to high temperatures will cause the flowers to become brittle and hard to work with. To make sure the color doesn’t leech out, dry your flowers in the dark.
Dry Your Flowers Upside Down
Flowers can be dried upside down in small bunches with their stems stripped bare. Bex recommends air-drying over a period of a good few weeks.
From left to right; Nigella damascena ‘Albion Black Pod’, curled dock (Rumex crispus), Lonas inodora, winged everlasting (Ammobium alatum), various Helichrysum bracteatum and mayweed (Matricaria discoidea).
Go Big With A Flower Cloud
Flower clouds have been popping up in chic restaurants and at special occasions like weddings. “I wanted to create an installation that was moveable, to allow it to be hung outside and brought in if the winds picked up and the rain came down,” says Bex. To make this flower cloud, she stuffed a chicken wire form with a soft base of flat-headed flowers like statice and sea lavender with lengths of lepidium.
Design An Art Installation
Dried flowers stitched to a square of vintage cotton fabric breathes life into a space, and resembles an art installation. “Smaller, more delicate flowers are the best ones to use for this project as they won’t weigh the fabric down, allowing it to hang without any draping and pulling.” Lay the fabric on the floor and place the flowers on top, plotting your design before stitching the flowers onto the fabric. Carefully sew each flower onto the fabric, securing in a couple of places, using a simple thread looped around then tied off with a double knot.
Create A Sculpture
This sculptural ombré bower makes use of color-coded streaming ribbons to up the melting effect. Cut a length of chicken wire to your desired size and shape, ensuring that the sharp ends are tucked in. Flatten the back of the design so it sits flush. Mark where the design will sit on the wall and hammer in a number of nails to hang the structure. Once the chicken wire is in place, position the flowers by slowly threading and weaving them into the wire, grouped by color. As natural gaps appear between the flowers, gradually fill them in with ribbons, allowing ends to float down at different lengths.
Pretty Up Your Tablescapes
For this al fresco table, small vintage jars and ceramic vessels and vases are filled with dry sand before inserting the flowers to ensure they stay upright in the wind. Fill the larger vessels with tall flowers to give height to the table. Pictured is a combination of bleached Ammi and tall, twisty Sanguisorba stems.
To create interest at a lower level, secure together bunches of tightly linked, blousy heads of strawflowers.
Create Your Own Wreath
This wreath was made using gypsophila from Bex’s cut flower beds and other materials picked from the banks that surround her garden. She chose floaty grasses, verdant green wildflowers and honesty seedpods in-the-green. “The wreath is intentionally big, bold and beautiful in order to reflect the wide expanse of forest,” she says.
Embrace Rustic Stoneware
A selection of sun-bleached bishop’s flower (Ammi majus), great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) and strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum) are placed in simple earthenware vessels for a rustic, natural effect in an outdoor setting.