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Everlastings-the Bouquet That Lasts

Here today. Gone tomorrow. That may be true for some cut flowers, but you’ll never say that about everlastings.

Throughout the summer and fall I hang bundles of flowers and floral materials up to dry, and set them aside until I have time during the winter to use them.

As a matter of fact some everlastings are free. They may come from trees and shrubs you have growing in your yard. These items may include seedpods, cones, nuts, lichens, mosses, branches, and foliage.

With all this plant material available it’s so easy to get the ones you need. Assuming they’ve been dried properly, most won’t shatter. Certain ones may, but using the special spray that is made for this can prevent that.

For everlastings the first step is to collect the material. For example, cones should be collected as soon as they drop from the trees. If they’re left on the ground they may become wet and discolored.

Foliage, such as magnolia and oak, should be picked while it is still green. Of course the exception is fall foliage where the leaves have changed color. Press the material between layers of newspaper, or in a homemade flower press.

There are so many uses for everlastings. They make excellent, long-lasting wreaths. For those dark rooms where indoor plants won’t grow very well, stick sprigs of everlastings in colored bottles or vases. For hanging on the wall, indoors or outdoors, there are all sorts of appealing shallow containers made of brightly colored metal, rattan, or other materials. The next time you’re wrapping a gift, use a sprig of everlastings instead of a bow. Or add them to napkin rings for table decorations.

Pressed flowers are often used to decorate greeting cards, mirrors, and various items in the home.

For those seeking tips on drying and using everlastings, there are a number of great guides available. “Dried Flower Techniques Book” is by Anne Ballard, a dried flower instructor and owner of a dried flower business in England. This was published by North Light Books/F & W Publications. In this book, she shares professional secrets on over 50 techniques with color-illustrated, step-by-step instructions on choosing and using materials. All sorts of projects are featured, including swags, wreaths, and bouquets of all sorts. She looks beyond the basics to help you choose ordinary materials to use as props. Among the arrangements are a number for events or seasons, such as ones suitable for weddings, holidays, and fall.

“Creative Floral Arranging” by The Home Decorating Institute was published by Creative Publishing International. It includes a complete section on drying and using everlasting flowers. This no-nonsense, how-to guide walks you through all the design basics, and the selection of suitable materials and techniques for using dried, fresh, and silk flowers. Among the projects for everlastings are a stunning dried centerpiece, a garden basket, a watering can arrangement, and a gorgeous willow arrangement. These easy to make projects include complete, illustrated, step-by-step instructions.

However you choose to preserve and use your everlastings, they’ll bring beauty for years to your home.

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