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Lasting Beauties

Published on September 23, 2021

Story by Johanna Silver
Photography by Carson Downing
Produced by Scott J. Johnson

Dried flowers and foliage offer constancy and unfading beauty through the change of the seasons.

As the seasons shift, so does our pace of life,

beckoning us to slow down and turn inward. Cued by shorter days and a chill in the air, the garden joins us in the deceleration. Luckily, our mantels and tabletops needn’t become bare of their treasures revealed in warmer times. Dried flowers and foliage, whether foraged or purchased, add year-round reminders of nature’s bounty. Instead of rich fragrances, dried stems offer delicate architecture that summons us for a closer look. Bright hues give way to more muted color palettes, enhancing feelings of at-home calm. Leaves and seed heads, in particular, offer a fresh take on a timeless tradition, lending a sense of subtle movement to each arrangement. Needing no water or care, these stems ask nothing of us in return. And should you take the time to arrange them—a meditative task in its own right—you can rest assured that the still life you create will be lasting.

When Arranging

- Vases with narrow mouths tend to create more structured arrangements, while wide-mouthed vessels will give way to fuller, larger arrangements.

- Grasses already feel windswept. Go ahead and let them lean.

- Broad-leafed elements, like palm fronds or eucalyptus, make a compelling contrast to more delicate blooms.

- Sleek, muted vessels can help to modernize an arrangement.

The Upright Brigade

An inspiring cast of dried blooms, grass heads, and leaves to get you started on your preserved posy.

This story was adapted for digital from the fall 2021 issue of Magnolia Journal.