Everlastings: How to grow, harvest and create with dried flowers
by Bex Partridge
Hardie Grant Books
We see them everywhere. Suspended spectacularly in the most stylish restaurants, sweeping around doorways of shops, and tumbling down aisles at weddings. Dried flowers are still trending – and floral artists keep bringing us more inspiring ways to use them. One, Bex Partridge of Botanical Tales, has given us the means to try the art ourselves with her new book, Everlastings.
After an introduction from Partridge, extolling the virtues of dried flowers, their sustainability and delicate beauty, the first part of the book has three sections – grow, harvest, create. These cover what to grow in the garden or forage for, when to pick, and methods for drying flowers, seedheads, leaves and grasses. The second half gives us 20 projects, from wreaths and table decorations to botanical mobiles and head pieces, which can be copied to the letter or used for inspiration.
Particularly useful is Partridge’s list of flowers and plants that are good for drying, encompassing perennials and annuals, with a select few biennials. Her favourites include strawflowers and cornflowers. The list has name (common and botanical), picking time, and drying method.
The practical advice for choosing which flowers to grow, as well as drying, pressing and making with them is insightful with clear instruction. Partridge shows us how versatile dried flowers can be, and that the growing and making is as rewarding as the finished pieces. Almost every page is illustrated with beautiful photographs by Laura Edwards that illustrate both project steps and the completed makes.
Tips are scattered throughout the book, many on keeping arrangements looking fresh – using a hair dryer to remove cobwebs, for example. Thanks to artists such as Partridge, strawflowers, or everlasting flowers as they are also known, are still shaking off the association with dusty fireplaces and being viewed as chic and contemporary.