By Yoli LaGuerre, AIFD, CFD, EMC
Floral designers are members of a community of curious and passionate people, constantly exploring the magic of what inspires them. This curiosity propelled me to travel to Katowice, Poland, in August, for the Europa Cup 2022. Like most floral events, there were stage presentations by top designers sharing industry secrets and tips and pronouncing the latest trends. It was thrilling to discover that sustainability is a worldwide mission and, for floral artists, using dried botanicals in floral designs is one way to help achieve sustainability goals.
Fresh flower arrangements, the temporary nature of which provides only fleeting enjoyment, will forever be in vogue; however, when sustainability is essential, floral designers must pivot and be resourceful without ever compromising aesthetic. This is why dried botanicals have now become the newest celebrity elements in floristry today
Dijk Natural Collections, a dried-botanicals supplier in the Netherlands and a sponsor of the Europa Cup 2022, highlighted dried botanical trends in Europe, focusing on sustainability, bold ways to incorporate dried botanicals with fresh flowers, and tips on growing revenues by renting botanical structures for events and corporate accounts.
In Europe, floral designers are experimenting with color and texture. A hot new product is dyed cotton bolls, particularly in pastel colors, and designers are incorporating them with fresh botanicals in bold hues, achieving dynamic visual impact. Using dried cotton bolls is popular in Flemish-style designs, and I predict it will be big in wedding personals, giving couples the opportunity to save elements of their bouquets and boutonnières as keepsakes without having to preserve. If you educate your clients about the interesting options and advantages of incorporating dried botanicals into their designs, they are more likely to order them. Having sample designs on display is a beneficial sales tool.
Another major trend is supplementing fresh tropical blooms with dried pods; bamboo and river cane culms (Bambusa and Arundinaria, respectively); coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera) “paddles”; and mosses. This is especially popular in corporate work. Designers can create grand structures utilizing water tubes for the fresh tropical flowers, which can be changed out as blooms fade. Designing with these elements can provide longer-lasting arrangements for your clients.
Sustainability is extremely important, and offering dried botanical options will entice an entirely new market of clients who are passionate about our planet and minimizing our carbon footprints. Time is also an important commodity, and while it will take an initial investment of time to create dried botanical structures, in the end, you will save money and time being able to reuse such structures repeatedly. Imagine creating a grand-scale arrangement with dried and preserved botanicals and having to change out only 20 or so stems every week. If you think that investing in dried botanicals may not be in your budget, imagine the possibility of not having to recut, process or toss product because of short vase lives. While in Europe, I visited several flower shops, and it is unanimous that dried botanicals are essential and great products to elevate your designs.
DRIED STRUCTURES DESIGN TIP
When standard water tubes aren’t large enough to accommodate larger stems—such as Heliconia, for example—search your inventory for smaller containers, cups or bowls, and cover them with elements like moss, bark, branches/stems, dried leaves, gravel, etc., that will work within your structure. You can also purchase large-diameter glass test tubes from scientific supply companies. Take the time required to properly secure and cover these mechanics. Be resourceful, repurpose and reuse.
The Artistry of Jana Maňáková
We discovered an inspiring dried flower wreath artist, Jana Maňáková, a floral designer in Zlín, Czech Republic. She has a creative eye for mixing a variety of dried botanicals to create beautiful wreaths. Her combinations of colors and textures are wonderful examples of modern dried flower design.
Tips for Maintaining Dried Flowers
• Keep dried flowers
– out of direct sunlight, to reduce fading and further drying
– away from heat sources
– in a dry, non-humid environment
• Dust dried flowers and arrangements, as needed, with a feather duster or cool-air hair dryer.
• Store dried flowers in boxes, in a dry environment and away from heat.
DRIED FLOWER SOURCES
Dijk Natural Collections
Dutch Masters in Dried Flowers
Hilverda De Boer
Holland Dried Flowers
Knud Nielsen Company
Lamboo Dried & Deco
Mills Floral Company
Schusters of Texas