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The flower & herb gardens
...Growing flowers
...- Varieties
...- Medicinal
...Pot Pourri
...Bouquet Garni

An area that is always of interest in the winter is dried flowers.

Today there is a strong sale in silk flowers and other similar items that decorate without dying as fresh flowers do. There are a wide variety of flowers that can be grown specifically for drying. Everlasting flowers the pink, yellow and blue tiny flower heads carried on spriggy branches are popular in rural areas.

Where a more sophisticated flower is demanded, there are still ideal subjects to be found in rural gardens. The pearl-sheened seed heads of dried Honesty mixed with orange dried Chinese Lanterns make an elegant arrangement. Many hydrangeas dry well; we have one that if picked late in the year dries to a soft green. This unusual colour looks fresh all winter. Try adding some choice: the hazel catkins available in January and possibly some peacock feathers (you can buy these from stately homes sometimes).

A fabulous addition to a dried flower selection is provided by dried hops. If you can get them on long swags and gently dry them, you can offer them to restaurants and hotels as large pieces of decoration; cut into smaller pieces, they make delightful centrepieces for a table. Hops are brittle when dry and will crush if handled harshly. If that happens to your hops turn them into a hop pillow for sale or, if you are really desperate, turn them into beer!

By producing a range of dried flowers that is not already widely available through florists, you can attract business that may well have been lost in the past due to the standardisation of many of the dried plants on offer. Dried flowers can be processed further to make framed pictures and cards. If you are really proficient at drying flowers, it may be worth advertising that you will preserve wedding bouquets. Just a few flowers from the bouquet can be dried, arranged into a framed picture and the bride has a permanent reminder.