As autumn approaches, begin collecting plant materials to dry for winter arrangements. Almost any part of plants can be used---flowers, seeds or fruits--as long as it is thoroughly dried. Hang in small bunches or lay flat to dry on screens or slatted shelves in a dark, airy place. Flowers should be dried in small bunches so those in the center of the bunch don't get mold or mildew before they dry completely.
Dried flowers are the stars of dry flower arrangements and make up the bulk of the plant materials. Choose flowers that retain some of their natural shape and color when dried. Good choices include hydrangeas, roses, statice, strawflower, baby's breath or globe amaranth. Make small bunches of a single type of flower, secure their stems together with a rubber band, and hang upside down in a dark, airy place to dry. They will take between two and four weeks to dry completely, depending on the variety. Ensure that they are completely moisture-free before storing in a covered container to guard against mold and mildew.
Dried Seed Pods and Heads
For additional interest in dried flower arrangements, incorporate dried seed pods and heads from your garden. Seed head of poppies, the money plant, large and small sunflowers, calendula, purple coneflowers or virtually any other daisy-like flower and pine cones (wired to lengths of floral wire) are all decorative and add color and texture to the arrangement.
To add subtle fragrance to your dried arrangement, add stems or bunches of herbs such as tarragon, sage, tansy, basil, oregano or thyme. These herbs maintain their structure somewhat when dried and their soft gray color adds light to dried arrangements. They also retain their herbal scents when dried, although it is not as strong as when fresh.
Dried Berries and Fruits
Accent your dried arrangement with dried berries and fruits such as branches of rose hips, bittersweet berries or juniper berries. Dried citrus halves or slices, dried whole crab apples or slices, decorative gourds or dried chili peppers can be attached to floral wire and added to the arrangement for a punch of color.