The Language of Flowers

Wild and expressive, these flower arrangements draw inspiration from 17th century Dutch botanical paintings, the gothic intrigue of Victoriana and the old-fashioned romance of overgrown secret gardens. It’s a style that heralds the revival of dramatic floral presentations using masses of seasonal flowers and gently worn opulence.

Suspended Animation

Evoke happy childhood memories with a whimsical jelly dessert – this time with grown-up flavours and filled with flowers.


  • Line a new or antique jelly mould with cling film.
  • Place edible flowers and, if you like, fresh berries in the base of the mould.
  • Mix pineapple or raspberry jelly powder (enough to fit the size of your mould) according to the packet instructions but using only around 100ml of boiling water. Substitute chilled lemonade, Champagne or sparkling wine instead of the additional cold water called for in the directions.

Tip: Chill your mould and all other liquid ingredients for a few hours before preparing your jelly – this will ensure it sets fast and will retain the fizz factor.

High Society

Take a more is more approach and create a high impact floral display, constructing it from the floor up.


  • Create a ‘tower’ for your flowers by securing a large, square piece of oasis onto a tray (you could use a suitable glue adhesive or strong, water-resistant double sided tape). Stick a tall dowel rod/stick into the centre of your base piece of oasis and then add smaller square pieces of oasis until you reach your preferred height (think of it as making a tall fruit kebab).
  • Carefully dampen your oasis using a watering can or jug.
  • Start placing your flowers until you are happy with your composition, being sure that none of the oasis is visible.
  • Wild grasses are ideal for adding height.

Frame of Reference

The hobby of flower pressing gets a modern update. This installation on a plywood-clad wall was created by pressing flowers and leaves, spray-painting them a uniform colour (in this instance, white), sticking onto artist’s quality white paper and displaying in simple, contemporary frames – some overlapping for an informal effect. These are juxtaposed with a vintage painting in an unusual mahogany frame.


  • Choose your flowers and foliage. Make sure everything is dry and blemish-free.
  • Place the flora between two sheets of plain parchment or wax (sandwich) paper and put these face-down in the middle of a telephone book.
  • Once closed, weigh the book down and leave for a week to ten days.
  • These flowers were spray painted white once dried and attached to paper using artist’s adhesive, then framed for a dramatic display.
  • Don’t saturate your dried flora with paint – spray lightly to allow some of the colour to still show through.

This article was originally published in Issue 3, Audrey Daybook – New Beginnings.