How to bring the natural world inside for home decoration - Manuela Bianco
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How to bring the natural world inside for home decoration

It’s no secret that I draw my inspiration for my artwork from nature. Walking through parks and spotting new flowers in bloom brings me such happiness. But I don’t just like to draw these beautiful scenes. I like to collect physical examples of nature too, for home decoration purposes. From pressing flowers to prettify my parcels to keeping larger, dried flowers in bell glass jars – the possibilities are endless! And there’s no better time to start collecting and drying flowers than during long summer days.

Dried seed heads in glass bell jars make for wonderful home decoration ideas

Goat’s Beard and Lady’s Mantle That Grace Holland’s Parks

Two of my favourite flowers or seed heads to dry are Goat’s Beard (Tragopogon pratensis) and Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis). The first is very similar to the dandelion but is much bigger. It can grow up to one metre tall and has yellow or purple blooms. Interestingly its flowers close in the afternoon, resulting in it also being called  ‘Noon-flower’ or ‘Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon‘. Its flowers and leaves can be added to salads and even its roots are edible. It’s often spotted in parks and along the streets of Holland.

“The goat’s beard, which each morn abroad doth peep

But shuts its flowers at noon and goes to sleep.”

Abraham Cowley, English poet, dramatist and essayist (1618 – 1667) 
  • Goat's Beard is a great flower for drying or pressing
  • Goat's Beard is a great flower for drying or pressing
  • home decoration with goat's beard

When the flower has aged, it turns into a seed head much like dandelions do. I find these fantastic for picking and then displaying in a glass jar at home. I have some placed on a shelf near our desk at home. They are a wonderful way of bringing the outside, inside. And they are a lovely reminder of the summer as the nights draw in and the cold of winter begins to knock at the door.

Displaying the seed heads in a glass bell jar adds a natural touch to interior spaces

The other plant I like to dry is the Lady’s Mantle which has velvety leaves and frothy sprays of flowers. The leaves are so velvety that they tend to capture perfectly-formed droplets of rain water or dew. The effect of these droplets are so diamond-like and magical that they were believed to have special properties by alchemists. From June to September, its chartreuse yellow flowers brighten up gardens and pathways here in the Netherlands. I find the flowers perfect for pressing and use them to decorate the packages I send out to customers.

Pressing Flowers For Home Decoration Ideas

Now the best way to press flowers is to use a good layer of thick, ribbed cardboard. It’s also important to use a few layers of newspaper so that the flowers dry quickly while maintaining their colour:

  • Cut the flowers and leaves to the desired size
  • Place them between layers of paper and newspaper
  • Put thick cardboard either side
  • Squeeze the layers together using a homemade press or place heavy books on top
  • Leave for four weeks

The resulting displays are great to be framed for home decoration or to use for adorning packages – which is what I like to do when sending out my parcels to customers.

Placing a spot light over the bell jars enhances the colours and shadows of the display

So there’s no better time than now to start adding to your own collection of home decoration ideas using dried and pressed flowers! Let me know how you get on. I’d love to see photos of your own dried flowers and how you bring the outside, inside. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more tips and sign up to my newsletter for updates.

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