Most of the flowers of summer fade, but some can be kept all year to decorate the house during the dark winter months.
I have already written about my favourite dried flower: Lunaria annula or honesty , which is really the lovely delicate silver inner seed case stripped and revealed, but other garden flowers will also maintain their beauty for months.
Hydrangeas come in many shapes and sizes and all of their flowers can be picked, hung up and dried, or if like me, you have no time for dangling plants on a line, you simply pick a few fresh heads and put them in a vase with no water and they will dry themselves – no effort required at all!
Yellow Yarrow , Achillea millefolium is equally easy. Just pick some wonderful sturdy yellow flowers and put them in a vase without water where they dry, unwilted and stay colourful for the whole year. You can get fancy and make arrangements by combining white hydrangeas and yellow yarrow, and make surprisingly elegant gifts in no time at all.
I have had a bunch of yellow yarrow in a vase next to my bath and when lying soaking in some bubbles and gazing up at the underside of the flowers one afternoon, I had an extraordinary revelation about how the medieval builders of Europe came up with the idea of gothic fan vaulting. The supporting stems of the flowers reach up under the flat head of fused flowers in exactly the same way that fan vaulting spreads out from column in the cloisters of Gloucester cathedral.
I wonder which master builder lay drowsing in a garden and looking up into the yarrow, decided to recreate this botanical masterpiece in stone?