Naturally Dried Flowers
Sometimes buying flowers from English Flower Farms can be daunting because the names of flowers are often different to those that you see on a dutch wholesalers website.
Without a picture, it is difficult to know whether you want to work with the flower as a florist, or have it in your Bridal Bouquet, button hole or wedding flowers because it is unfamiliar.
As a flower growing geek, it has taken me a while to realise that I am geek and I like to know the names of the flowers that we grow here in Leeds on our urban flower farm.
I know that this is even harder with British dried flowers because the range that is available is vast. This is because the storage and travel times are shorter even when we are positing out dried flowers from Leeds to Florists around the country.
The flowers that we dry here are air dried. We don't use colours or preservatives. We find that dried flowers will hold their colour perfectly well if you dry them in a cool dim room, with good air flower and only a limited amount of natural light.
The cool temperature means that the flowers dry slowly and are not stressed by the process. The low light levels help to preserve the colour of the flowers and brighter lights cause fading.
We find that this slow process also means that the flowers keep their movement making them easy to work with. The flowers are so naturally coloured that people often ask if they are really dried!
And it means that you have colours and shapes to add to your work with British flowers in winter that create variety when the flower varieties that are available are more limited.
People often ask why dried flowers are more expensive that fresh flowers. After all, they are just the same flowers!
For us, the flowers start off the same. They are sown and grown in the same way as our fresh flowers. In fact, may of the flowers that we dry, we also sell in their fresh form.
However our dried flowers are not the flowers that we are unable to sell direct from our Flower Farm in Leeds. In fact they are cut at the same time, that is in peak condition, and sometimes, to allow the flowers to open up a little as they dry the flowers are cut at an even earlier stage than our fresh flowers.
Weirdly, dried flowers also still have to be conditioned (allowed to rehydrate in water) before they are prepared for hanging.
Excess foliage and flower heads that risk becoming mouldy then need to be removed, before the flowers are bunched, tied together and strung to be dried.
You need to dedicate hanging space for drying that allows for the conditions described above. You also need to allow enough space when the flowers are hung for air flow around them to be good. This also prevents flowers from being squashed and unsightly during the process.
Finally, the stems and flowers need to be checked regularly for damage, mould and evidence of pests so that there is no opportunity for these things to spread.
It can take anywhere from 3 weeks for a flower with a thin stem to 3 months for a flower with a glaucous stem to dry a flower. And the continuous checks must continue throughout this time.
Finally the flowers are ready for our floral design, postage to florists and wrapping for our retail customers.
Finally, it's worth noting that dried flowers also last for longer. Som of our customers will freely visit us at a market, and look. They will also comment that they don't need to buy more because theirs are still so beautiful. We do offer advice to all of our customers on how to keep their flowers looking fantastic for as long as possible. it really is simple. You can read this advice here.
So this explains the difference in price and why it is both sustainable and fantastic value if you are able to follow the care tips.
Helichrysum, Straw flower