Bex Partridge is a floral artist specialising in everlasting flowers. She grows all her flowers and vegetables on an allotment a five minute cycle ride away from her home in Farnham, before picking and preserving them for future use and making beautiful floral creations from them - from dried flower wreaths to fresh flower crowns. Bex is a keen forager who follows the ebb and flow of the seasons; she's also a lover of autumn and a Cupsmith customer. So who better to share some ideas for how to bring nature into your home this autumn?
With the clock change just around the corner and the leaves on the trees turning crispy and golden at a rapid rate, middle Autumn is a perfect time to get outside and go foraging for a few snippets of nature to bring in to the home. I work with dried flowers in my business, Botanical Tales, and can be found squirelling away all sorts of beauties at this time of year - from statuesque seed heads of teasels to the swollen red rosehips that scatter the hedgerows, most stored in the cupboard under the stairs to be used later on in the season.
The darker days can make it more challenging for us to spend time outside, so I find it is even more important to bring nature in. To surround yourself with touches of the natural world can bring a softness and calm to your house, a gentle reminder to us all to stay connected to nature and to the ebb and flow of the seasons.
If you have children, try to get them involved in your foraging, take a walk in the woods and encourage them to find fircones and billowing bracken branches. Leaves at this time of year are unbelievable in their colouring and shapes and a favourite activity of ours as a family is to collect a handful of leaves and take them to home to draw chalk faces of animals and birds on them. You can also use the leaves to make crayon rubbings on paper, to really explore their skeletal make-up which is even more prevalent as they begin to fade and decay. These leaves and rubbings can then be hung from a window or a wall in your child's bedroom.
Bringing nature into the home can be as simple as gathering a few branches from a tree and displaying them in a vase, here are some ideas to get you started:
Natural Fire Lighters
Keep a bowl of dried fir cones (check for any bugs before using please!) by your fire and use as a natural way to light your fire, not only do they work a treat, they are free from chemicals and look beautiful out on display
Statuesque Seed Heads
Dress up a shelf or mantel piece with a selection of seedheads foraged from the hedgerows and meadows. Gathering together a selection of mini vases and ceramic pots, fill them with individual seedheads such as poppies, wild carrot and teasels and display them in a haphazard way, across your chosen space, giving each element space to breathe and shine.
Branches full of crispy leaves
The likes of beech and red oak trees maintain their leaves well will picked at the right time. Now is just about perfect, as the leaves are turning brown and golden yet haven’t fall from from the branch. Cut a length to fit a space in your house and hang from a nail and a naturally dyed length of fabric or ribbon. To go that little bit further, using hemp string, hang colourful seedheads such as chinese lanterns from the branch in a differing heights and hang in a place where the lanterns can the sunlight
Create a Foraged Wreath
Now is the best time to get creative when it comes to wreath making, with nature doing all her work in drying materials for us, it’s super easy to gather the bits you would need for a beautiful wreath. Using a length of vine such as honeysuckle or grape, form a circle, wrapping the ends around each other. Working with leaves, seed heads and flowers, thread your stems in between your vine base covering as much or as little as you like. Hang with a velvet ribbon from your front door for your guests to admire.
Creating these small works of botanical art, will see you through the depths of winter and be a reminder of the beauty that is to come when Spring arrives and Winter has done her job of restoring all the energy back in to our plants.
If you fancy making your own winter wreath, I will be running a number of workshops throughout December. Sign up to my newsletter here for more details or contact me directly via email at bex@botanicaltales. I will also be running an online tutorial that will be released towards the end of November to allow people the time to create their own foraged wreath at their own pace.
Bex has a selection of her handmade dried flower wreaths available to buy via her website, along with lots more inspiration for getting creative with botanical crafting, seasonal living and exploring the countryside. Visit www.botanicaltales.com.
Bex Partridge at home with a cup of tea