Try an Arrangement of Dried Flowers

Phyllis Décor 26 Comments

My first trip to Colonial Williamsburg was life changing in many ways. I love the entire recreation of life in the 1700s and 1800s. In addition to the wonderful architecture and the enchanting furnishings, I discovered what the colonist called “everlastings.” Everlastings are dried flowers placed in beautiful arrangements so that during the dreary winter months the memories of beautiful flowers can be preserved.


My mom, Inez Norton, is the queen of dried flowers. She always jokes and says you better look fast if you want to see the flowers in the garden; she will have them hanging to dry faster than you can blink. I asked her one time if larkspur is a reseeding plant. She laughed and said, “I have no idea. I pick the flowers before I give them time to reseed.” There is a lot of truth in that. So she plants seeds every year just to be sure she has a beautiful bed of flowers.


Roses are so easy to dry. I hang mine upside down and just leave them alone. But I usually wait until right before the petals are ready to drop unless I want to preserve a rose in bud. All summer long, Mom and I both look for beautiful blossoms to dry; when we have enough (or the boxes are running over) Mom makes beautiful arrangements or refreshes older arrangements. Sometimes you just need to throw them away because they become so brittle they crumble.


The photos I am sharing with you today are the arrangements in my home that Mom made. I just love everlastings. There is something so elegant to me about dried flower arrangements. The colonists really knew how to bring beauty inside to enjoy long after growing season. While it is still winter, spring will be coming soon. So think about drying some of your favorite flowers to enjoy next winter.

Have you ever made an arrangement with dried flowers?
I’d love to hear about it!


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Comments 26

  1. We use dried flowers for a small arrangement at the base of a lace fan for the Victorian Cotillion debs to carry. The fan can be framed and the flowers and fan will last forever. I love dried flowers!

  2. EVELASTINGS—-OH YES! In my early childhood we lived in the dry, dry area of the Panhandle of Northern Texas. My parents had both grown up in the verdant river valley of Colorado and set about to make gardens
    for our family. Everlastings were one of the plants they could coax to grown in the caliche-type soil. Drying the blossoms and grasses was not difficult as the air was hot and very dry. Mother would fashion one large arrangement for the mantle in the living room that lasted all winter. I remember being so glad to see that arrangement when the winter winds were howling outside and dream of summer gardens. I realize today that helped my family adapt to the arid landscape and have hope for a different season. Thank you for bringing these images to mind through your article. I, too, use such in my home as well as potpourri made from my blossoms of summer. The aromas are soothing.

  3. I’m a huge fan of Williamsburg, too, and love it so much in the winter! Thanks for the photos of the very colorful “everlastings.” Don’t think I’ve ever seen as much color in a dried arrangement as in your first two pictures.

  4. Larkspur is definitely a reseeding flower. I have lived on this farm 37 years and to my knowledge have never planted new seed for this flower. My mother-in-law lived here before me and I got my starts from her and have kept them ever since. The seeds are tiny, black pepper seeds that spread like wild fire if you leave them to dry in the perennial border. Just uproot the plant after it has dried and shake where you want them for next year. I live in western Kansas and this works well for me. I have heard it is poisonous to cattle, so don’t throw seeds where you have cattle grazing. It is also a first cousin to delphinium. I have them in purple and pink. If you look close inside the flower you will see a rabbit’s face with long ears like a jack rabbit. It is a fun flower to show children on garden tours. In spring I have entire beds of larkspur blooming along with white meadow daisies. Beautiful. Looks English garden.

  5. Your arrangements are lovely! For many years, I saved the roses given to me by my father, a boyfriend or two, and then my husband, and dried them. Once dried, I used a few dozen, along with baby’s breath and preserved lemon leaves, to adorn a grapevine wreath. The rest were stored in shirt boxes padded with tissue paper and moved from NJ, then through 3 houses in AZ, before coming out and being planted into tin buckets painted cream and decorated with pink rose decals. These 2 buckets, studded with dried roses and laden with sweet memories, grace shelves made by my husband in my home office where I work every day. They never fail to bring a smile to my face!

  6. Love WIlliamsburg, love the beautiful arrangements you posted… You can’t know how glad I am that Victoria Magazine was made available again… it is the one magazine that I can say makes me fall in love again 🙂

  7. I have a lovely dried bouquet of Peonies in my bedroom now. Every time I walk into that room, I am again happy to see their beauty. Must admit though, that my heart and soul are craving some fresh flowers right about this time of a cold Winter!

    Thanks for your article, especially enjoyed hearing how you and your Mother share a passion for flowers. Miss my Mom and it always makes be happy to see another enjoying their Mom!!!

  8. I have always loved dried florals and many years ago had a business creating dried arrangements and wreaths, called Simply Summer. More recently I returned to a similar endeavor, Cottage Drieds, selling at craft shows and a local farmers market. I grow zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos, bachelors buttons, and roses and either air dry or dry in silica which works quite well. I will always love the look of dried flowers and love how they look with any decor.

  9. I have picked peonies at the height of their bloom; then melted paraffin wax. then quickly dipped in the flowers, and when the wax dried on the petals, I arranged them in a wreath with just a few greens. The wreaths were all different..even some with buds attached. Flowers must be at the peak of blooming; not the end so,petals stay on and color is best then

  10. Your dried flowers are beautiful. I have dried hydrangeas. They are probably the easiest flower to dry. I made a wreath from hydrangea and had it for years.

  11. I love drying flowers and pressing flowers. I love the look of my house when I hang them to dry. (Mostly in kitchen). I dried both my daughter’s wedding bouquets for them. They only trusted me to do it. Williamsburg is one of my FAVORITE places. I grew up in Lexington, Mass. I only lived about a 13 min. walk from the Lexington Common where the first shot was fired in the Revolutionary War. People who say it started in Concord are incorrect as when the Redcoats marched from Boston, Lexington comes first and Concord is 2 towns away.

  12. Phyllis,
    I absolutely love dried arrangements! Yours arrangements are awesome. I live in an apartment and don’t have a garden, however I do purchase fresh flowers and dry them. I miss the less formal flowers that one can grow in their own cutting garden. Can you suggest a resource to purchase good quality dried flowers? Many that I see look as if they were dried at least ten years ago, have no color and are very brittle.
    Thanks so much.

  13. Ask your mom to share with us how she keeps them from falling apart. Does she spray them with something? I’ve heard to spray with hair spray, or keep in some sand solution to dry them out. I still have my wedding bouquet from 10 years ago and I don’t want to move it from where it’s hanging for fear it will “chip” apart… I love your pictures so much, they take you “back in time”. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mom uses a spray that can be found at any craft store. It is especially made for dried florals. I have also herd hair spray (aerosol) works, but I have never tried it.

      1. Thank you so much… will look for that when I’m around those stores.. hoping to walk in there and only buy that! Yikes! Such temptations!

  14. Oh, these are beautiful! I love dried flowers too. It’s amazing how well they hold their color and shape after drying. I had kept and dried flowers that my future husband gave me over the course of our courtship, then used them to make my wedding bouquet. That bouquet held such a romantic and sentimental meaning to me as I walked down the aisle…and it is nice to have it still (though packed away) after 25 years of marriage!

  15. Lovely! They recall the glorious occasion or garden where they were picked. So wish we had access to commercially dried materials that are less brittle as we once did. We once used hydrangea from a family wedding to decorate a stair railing and tree at Christmas with velvet ribbons of the season…beyond lovely.

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