Magical dried flowers with floral artist Bex Partridge

Women looking down and holding dried honesty pod flowers
We speak with the lovely Bex Partridge, dried floral artist, author, Instagram favourite and founder of Botanical Tales, to find out more about the craft of drying flowers and how to display them in your home.
Woman in white t-shirt holding brand decorated with dried flowers and colourful ribbons

Dried flowers and grasses have been one of the biggest interior hits for 2020 and it’s easy to see why. Everlasting, low maintenance and sustainable, dried bouquets and wreaths are more muted, calmer and homely than fresh blooms, bringing with them a sense of comfort and lasting beauty in what has been an uncertain year.

Hi Bex! Tell us where your love of dried flowers came from?

My love for dried flowers comes from a sustainability perspective as well as one of beauty. Whilst I adore fresh flowers, I truly believe dried flowers can offer just as much, if not more, and have the ability to take us through the dark months of winter with one eye on the wonder that is nature.

Brown vase with bouquet of dried flowers in front of window

I’ve always been a gardener and lover of the natural world for as long as I can remember, hugely inspired by my Oma and mum who are both avid gardeners. My move into the artistic world came about very organically as I spent more and more time working with dried flowers and found I wanted to spend less and less time working in an office on things that didn’t excite me. I took the plunge to start my business two years ago and haven’t looked back since.

My work focusses on the full life cycle of flowers, which sees me growing drying and creating with blooms and foliage. I am passionate about growing for the whole of nature rather than just for our pleasure and take a holistic approach to my gardening.

What are the best flowers for creating a dried display?

I like to use more traditional everlastings such as statice, acrolinium and helichrysum. These flowers have petals that are almost papery to the touch before they are dried and tend to dry the best and retain the most colour. These are perfect flowers to start with when it comes to working with dried flowers.

Variety of dried flowers hanging off a branch in a studio

How easy is it to dry flowers?

The easiest way by far is to simply hang them upside down in a dry, cool place. A cupboard under the stairs or even an airing cupboard work well, or if your space is limited then you can create a floral mobile by hanging a few bunches or heads of flowers from a forage stick, it will make a beautiful textural addition to a room.

What dried flowers go well together?

This is really dependent on what you are wanting to create. I always try to ensure I have a good mix of textures and tones when I’m making a display of any kind. You want to ensure you have dried material that has flow, so lots of grasses mixed with more structural flowers for example.

How do we care for dried flowers so they keep that faded, rustic beauty, rather than looking dusty?

The main things to ensure are that they are kept out of direct sunlight, that they are not allowed to get damp and if kept on display that they may need a clean occasionally. A hairdryer works well for this, simply set the hairdryer to the lowest, coolest setting and gently blow the flowers clean of any dust.

Large dried flower art installation against exposed brick wall

What is your favourite flower and why?

This is an impossible question to answer! It changes greatly depending on the seasons and to be honest, my mood sometimes. Right now I am loving all the autumn colours and so foliage is stealing my heart, but come spring, it will be the crinkly petals of a dried tulip!

What type of centrepiece would you use to decorate a reclaimed wood dining table this Christmas?

I would focus on filling a rustic dining table or reclaimed sideboard with seasonal foliage that will last a few weeks. The greens of the evergreen trees will contrast beautifully with the natural grain of the wood and lends itself to the Christmas period. Honesty seedpods in all their silvery glory will add a touch of sophistication to the display and to take it a step further, rosehips and old mans beard (clematis) would all work beautifully.

Woman holding bunch of dried flowers and close up of flowers

What other ways can we use dried flowers to decorate our homes this Christmas?

In the past I have used left over heads of strawflowers in reds and whites to decorate my foraged Christmas tree. Just wrap wire or twine around the short stems and loop around branches. A gnarly branch coated in lichen can be hung from the wall and decorations hung from it as an alternative to a Christmas tree. I love a pared down Christmas when it comes to styling, lots of foliage and velvet ribbons.

Wooden mantlepiece with arrangement of dried flowers and tea lights

Two images of Christmas decorations using dried flowers

For more dried flower inspiration, see @botanical_tales or Bex’s book, Everlastings, now available on Amazon. If you’re interested in learning about dried flowers, Botanical Tales run online tutorials. Visit its website to find out more.

All images by Bex Partridge