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Stem Skills

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Eastern Promise

Dried flowers are beautiful and long-lasting. Here's how to make your own dome jar display

Words BEX PARTRIDGE

GATHER

• A selection of dried flowers, seed heads and grasses including loose flower heads - I selected all the flowers that I was most proud of growing: celosia flamingo feather, pink rhodanthe, poppy budsand seed heads, glitter thistles and gomphrena

• A glass dome jar with a wooden base

• Horticultural scissors

• A vintage frog pin

I adore making these dome jars – they can capture a moment in time perfectly, like a wild flower meadow in summer, or here where I have used a selection of the home grown blooms I am most proud of growing this season. A positive reminder of the growing year.

I use a frog pin to make mine, as they can be reused, and if you can find a vintage pin it will look beautiful in itself. If it’s a gift, you might want to secure the frog pin to the base of the dome with a dot of superglue. When selecting the materials, consider what you want to evoke – perhaps your garden in midsummer, or the beauty of the leaves turning in autumn (fall). I find this helps me with the structure and flow, almost as if I’m painting with flowers.

LET’S GET STARTED

STEP 1 Begin by measuring the stemsagainst the height of the dome jar and cut each one down so that it’s at least 1 cm (1/2 in) shorter than the distance between the base of the dome jar and its uppermost point.

Work from the middle outwards, placing the tallest and most prominent flower right in the middle of the frog pin. Working with the other materials, build up and around your central bloom. Depending on where you’re going to display your dome jar, it can be a front-facing design with all the tall flowers at the back, or one that can be viewed from any angle.

STEP 2 Go with the flow of the flowers, a higgledy-piggledy approach is a perfect representation of nature and gives the impression of a garden inside a dome. Give each flower room to breathe and be taken in, and make sure that you bring some interest to draw the eyes to the bottom of the display. Cut tips of long flowers off to use as filler, dot dried leaves among the flowers as a soft gap-filler, and consider scattering seeds or petals across the wooden bottom for added interest.

STEP 3 Gently place the glass dome over the top of the flowers, taking care to not catch any stems as you do so. The flowers can remain under the glass for years and years free from dust and any risk of damp damage.

EXTRA INSPIRATION

I’ve also used natural clay as a base for this – choose one that air-dries quickly to avoid the stems of the flowers rotting. If you are creating this for yourself at home, don’t use superglue to attach the frog pin, because then you will be able to reuse both the pin and dome base again in separate makes. For a dramatic take, cram the jar full of statuesque flowers such as teasel heads, palm leaves and other graphic dried flowers.