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How To Dry Flowers

Dried flowers are becoming increasingly more popular. Personally, I have quite a large collection in my studio. If I have pieces or blooms left over from an order or I have done some foraging, they are immediately turned upside down and hung for drying and using at a later date.

How to Dry:

You’ll need a space that is dark and dry, and preferably warm (or hot!).

Perhaps you have a warm, dry attic that you can use or can clear out a closet in your home or studio. You’ll want to avoid spaces that are too damp or have any direct sun exposure. Sun can very quickly fade the beautiful fresh colors of your drying blooms, and moisture can slow drying and cause flowers to mold. If necessary, you can add heat or even use a dehumidifier if you can’t find a location that fits the criteria perfectly. Also, drying flowers can take up a lot of room, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when choosing the right space for your operation. However, once your flowers are dry, you can store them in clean, dry boxes to save space and make room to start drying more bunches!

DRYING

There are a few different techniques for drying flowers, but I mainly use the simplest of them: hanging bunches upside down to dry in my studio. You can create a rack or like me use old ladders hung from the ceiling. Get creative with the tools you have and make sure to leave enough space around the bunches to allow for sufficient air flow.

Remember the key factors for success with drying: darkness, dry conditions, and (preferably) warmth.

In the right place, your flowers should dry relatively quickly. It’s hard to give an exact time frame, so check them after about a week and see how they’re doing. You can tell if your flowers are dry by merely bending a stem- if it bends easily, feels supple and doesn’t break then it’s not dry enough yet. It should snap, not bend. When they’re dry, you can store them in boxes, separated by tissue paper. Flowers can re-absorb moisture even after they are totally dry, so storing any boxes or bunches in a dry place is of the utmost importance. The same goes for any finished products as well.

There are so many great flowers that can be dried: here are a few of my favourites.

Misty Lavender is to die for!  Harvest when 90% of the flowers are open- almost to the top- with a few still unopened buds at the top.

Strawflower are available in lots of colors, with Apricot/ peach and Slivery Rose being my favourites. Be aware, If the center is too developed they will often start going to seed and the centre becomes a puff of brown and looks much less attractive.

Statice offer lots of colors. The vibrant blues and purples of statice are unmatched in any other dried flowers.

Love in a Mist makes a great dried bouquet filler.

Wheat: There are many kinds of wheat available including many fun heirloom varieties and bearded wheat (Triticale), which is actually a hybrid between wheat and rye.  Wheat can be cut either when the heads have just developed to get a more green colour, or left until it has matured further and has started to turn golden.

Lavender: one of my favourites. Need to be hung in their prime after just being picked.

French Lavender

Hydrangea: dry beautifully and have an incredible range of colours from green through to pink and blue.

Pampass Grass: Dries easily. Best done as soon as they bloom and not at the end of their life. Use hairspray to stop seeds flying everywhere. Wait for the pampas grass plumes to be fully developed but not shedding. … Spritz the plumes with hairspray, coating them evenly to stop shedding.

Billy Buttons: or Craspedia. Soooo easy to cut and dry. Easiest of all these babies.

Annual Ornamental Grasses and Grains:

  • Amaranth
  • Austrostipa
  • Broom Corn
  • Cress, persian
  • Flax
  • Fountain Grass
  • Frosted Explosion Grass
  • Feather-Top Grass
  • Hares tail grass or Bunny Tail Grass
  • Oats, Wheat and Barley

Annual Flowers:

  • Ageratum
  • Celosia
  • Craspedia
  • Scabiosa, Star Flower
  • Statice Suworowii
  • Winged Everlasting

Perennial Flowers and Shrubs

  • Echinops, Globe Thistle
  • Eryngium, Sea Holly
  • Hydrangeas
  • Ornamental Oreganos
  • Roses
  • Yarrow

Enjoy creating wreaths, bouquets, cake toppers, corsages and many other amazing creations with everlasting flowers and grasses.

Some examples of my work below.

Cake topper includes silk and dried flowers.
Everlasting Wreath with Gum, Strawflowers and Native Grasses
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From Market to Bouquet

One of the things that I enjoy the most about being a floral designer is choosing the blooms that are going into the bouquet or installation. Here are a few photos I took  after I arrived home from the Flower Market in Silvan.

Once I get home, the blooms are stripped of all excess foliage. The stems are cut and plunged into vases full of clean treated water to hydrate these little babies. Those that need to be cooled are popped into the fridge. Sometimes it takes half a day just to select and prep the flowers and foliage. Then the design process starts.

 

Don’t forget Grasses and Texture

Often I will select flowers two or three days before design.  This will be to give blooms a chance to hydrate and open so they are nice and full

These two bouquets are  for a photo shoot at Bramleigh Estate in Warrandyte.  

I am not ashamed to say that I love colour.  I absolutely can do fully wired and traditional bouquets.  I am a second generation florist so I can craft many different decades of designs.  However, I was able to have a bit of fun with this project so my own particular style of colour, texture and whimsy came to the fore.

The bouquet on above is made of White O’Hara and Pink Mondial Ecuador roses along with Peppercorn, Ruscus, Snow Berry and Hydrangea and Peony.

 

 The bouquet below is a whimsical loose design with dyed wheat, sedum, celiosa, hydrangea, emille,  tweedia, peppercorn berries and foliage, gum foliage, pampas grass, native grass, seeded gum, Pink Mondial Roses and pale pink peony roses.

 

I would love  to design your wedding or next floral event.  To find out more email me on Lisa@yarrablooms.com

 

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How to Make An Everlasting Flower Crown

How to Make an Everlasting Flower Crown

I recently received a phone call from a good friend who was going to a hens weekend and they wanted to have some fun making flower crowns.  However, as they were going down to the Great Ocean Road, it was a bit far for me to go and run a workshop.  So I put my brainstorming hat on and thought.  How do I make this work.  Flower Crowns can be a little tricky to make so I had to solve these problems.  

1:  How to make it easy for a novice

2:  How can the flowers transport and still look amazing.

3:  How do we navigate the need to wire fresh flowers

Solution:  Glue and everlasting and silk flowers.  The silk and everlasting flower ranges today are so advanced and beautiful.  I decided that I could make up kits using these elements and they would travel perfectly.  This also meant that the girls would not have to wire or tape fresh flowers.

The main ingredient in this project must be FUN.  You don’t want to get bogged down in technique.  So I will step you through the Flower Crown Kits that I am making for the Hens Weekend.

In this kit you will receive: 

  • Floral Glue (you can use a glue gun if you have one)
  • All blooms and gum foliage
  • Pre wired and taped head piece template.
  • Florist tape
  • Ribbon
  • Instruction Booklet.
  • You will need to provide your own snips.

For enquires about prices and ordering Everlasting Floral Crown Kits please email Lisa.

lisa@yarrablooms.com

 

 Before you Start:  

Lay out all of your items.

Make sure you have a piece of paper towel or paper plate to keep glue contained.

Step One:

Attach small sections of foliage to the head wire…  

Use a ‘warmed up’ small piece of florist tape to attach the foliage onto the head wire.

( You can warm it up in your hands, I pop it in my bra while I am prepping…lol)

Technique:  Wrap, stretch and turn. 

Do this the entire length of the head wire. 
 

Step Two:  Now do the same thing with the Emile.

Set out your pieces.   

 

Take small pieces of Emile and tape OR glue along  the head wire from start to finish.

 

Don’t worry too much at this stage  …….. breathe.

These first stages are to create a base which will hold the blooms that we put on at the end.

You can go back later and trim things off or add more onto the wire base if you need to. 

Step Three:  You will receive  one long piece of silk wisteria.

Cut it onto smaller pieces.

Go ahead and tape or glue the wisteria pieces to the head wire.

Step Four:  The largest bloom.

  • Think about where you want the bloom to  go.  
  • This is your largest bloom so I suggest you hold the head wire up to your head and imagine where the bloom will go.  
  • It will probably sit best toward the back of the wire so that it is sitting over your ear. 
  • Take the large silk rose and dob a lot of glue onto the back of the bloom.  
  • Press it onto the head wire.  
  • Tip it upside down so the weight of the head piece holds it in place.

 

 

 

Step Five:

  • Place a bit more glue on the back of the headpiece.  
  • Bring a flap of the rose around the wire and glue to the back of the bloom.  
  • Press firmly
  • This will give it more stability

NEXT:  Take A break

  • It Should be starting to look like this.

Step Six:  Smaller Blooms

  • Place your paper daisies and statice out for the next step.  Decide where on your head piece you would like to place them.  
  • I suggest you do the paper daisies first and use the statice last to fill any gaps.

Step Seven:  How to Glue your smaller Blooms

  • Turn the paper daisy up side down and place a generous dob of glue on the back of the bloom.
  • Press firmly onto the area on the headpiece you would like it to go.  
  • Hold it for a few seconds.

TO FINISH

  • Hold it up and look for any gaps.
  • Glue in place any blooms or foliage that you have left over.
  • Snip off any bits that could prick you.
  • Take the ribbon and thread through the loops at the back of the head wire.
  • Put on your gorgeous head and take a photo please…..and tag @yarrablooms

I used my Unicorn as a model.  My test headpiece will sit in my Granddaughters nursery.  Too Cute.

 

 

 

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Whimsical Enchanted Wreaths

Whimsical enchanted Wreaths

Whimsical “playfully quaint or fanciful, 

 appealing and amusing”.

 

By Lisa Hunt-Wotton

That is exactly what these wreaths are.  Quaint, appealing and they last forever.  That is why they are also called ‘everlasting wreaths’.

These wreaths are for sale from my studio and start at $60.00 for a small 32 cm wreath.  You can order a bespoke wreath by emailing me lisa@yarrablooms.com.  The finished product in this post is about 55 cm and is currently for sale for  $150.00.

I thought I would take a few minutes to show you how to make one.   It is a lot of fun and doesn’t take too much trouble.

Step One:  You need a hoop.  You can find all sorts of sizes at Spotlight.  

When I need a particular size I make my own out of branches and twisted willow , as seen below with this huge amazing piece I made for a client in Warrandyte North out of gum misty blue and silk peonies.

Large Hoop Installation with Silk Peony’s

Step Two:  Choose some eucalyptus gum which dries beautifully.  In this example I have chosen three types of gum.  A common green gum, a pale sage dollar gum (the round leaves make great contrast) and a seeded gum (which of course has the amazing delicate seed pods attached.

Step Three:  Set out the seeds, nuts, grasses, flowers and other bits and bobs you have collected.  These are things that I have collected over the last few months and dried out in my studio. You can use all of these fresh and they will dry out in time with the gum.  Statice works well as does gypsophila, billy buttons and wheat.

 

In this wreath I have used:  misty blue, paper daisies, several native grasses and some  dried dock weed.  (don’t faint – I like the color and texture).  

Step Three: Cut the foliage into about 6 inch lengths (as shown above)  and weave in and out of the hoop.  You can wind dodda vine around the hoop first which is what I did.  This is not crucial but it does provide a great base to hold the stems as you weave them in and out.  You can also use a glue gun to stick some of the first pieces onto the hoop.  OR you can use wire and attach the gum to the hoop.

Once you get started you will get going – it’s pretty easy.

 

Step Four:  Start to add in the longest pieces of your dried grasses and flowers.  I have clumped pieces together here,  and used a dollop of glue to hold it in place. 

I have chosen to only decorate a third of the wreath but you can be as creative as you want, do the whole wreath if you wish.

 

Step Five:  Play and have fun as you decorate and add all the whimsical pieces of your creation.

   

Ta Dahhhhhhhhh…..  Find a big gorgeous bow to tie to the top and hang up your Whimsical Wreath.

 

Fresh Flowers:   You can of course use fresh flowers.  We do this all the time especially for weddings and events as seen below in this forest themed wedding.  They can make fabulous back drops and look amazing.  Today many brides are choosing to small hoops instead of bouquets in their wedding party. 

  

 

The photos above are of an Enchanted Forest Party.  Raffaella hired my wreaths for her children birthday party.  Definitely whimsical and definitely enchanted. 

Designed by Raffaella  from  Indi and Bear.   

 

For more information on up coming wreath workshops, or if you would like to order a wreath.  Contact me on lisa@yarrablooms.com

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Florists Magic Tricks

On of  the major tricks of a florist is to understand that the care of flowers is paramount.
  • Clean Water
  • Clean Vases
  • Clipped stems

These simple steps prolong the life of your flowers.

Take it Off!
You will have received your bouquet beautifully wrapped up.

Take off ALL of our  wrapping, pick your favorite vase from that super high cabinet above your fridge, and wash it with soap and water. We know it’s a pain, but that saying about cleanliness and Godliness is true for flowers too!

Snip, Snip

Next up, your bouquet needs a fresh cut! This applies to you too, vase-arrangement recipients! You want to cut at least 2 cm  off the stems at a 45 degree angle to allow more surface area to drink water as well as ensure they don’t sit flush with the bottom of the vase.

Fill It Up!

Just like us, your flowers are thirsty! Fill the vase with cool, clean water. Clean water prevents bacteria from growing (which is what causes flowers to expire – eek!). Here’s the kicker – try to change the water DAILY, or as often as you can possibly remember!

TIP– the life of each variety of flower is different and, as you can see, we like lots of variety in our bouquets! To keep your flowers fresh as long as possible, take out the flowers as they expire so they don’t spread bacteria to the flowers that are still lovin’ life!

If your flowers came in a basket or other container with foam, add fresh water every day.   Immediately remove dead or wilting leaves and stems from fresh flower arrangements.

Flowers do not  love heat.   A hot room will make those tight blooms pop.  A cooler position will mean you can keep your blooms a little longer.

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