Blooms made to last with JamJar Flowers

Whether it’s an anniversary rose or a wedding bouquet, flower drying and pressing is having a moment. Interiors editor Nicole Gray visits the florist making them fashionable again

The passion for flower preservation and the desire to reconnect with nature have blossomed during lockdown. While we’re still spending a lot of time at home, doing something simple such as flower pressing is a great way to switch off, step away from the screen and relax with a hit of botanical meditation.

The JamJar Studio in South London specialises in pressed and dried flower displays. Photograph: Megan Taylor

Founder of JamJar Flowers Melissa Richardson and director Amy Fielding, who is co-founder of their sister company JamJar Edit, have seen demand for their flower-pressing workshops – run from their florist and design studio in Peacock Yard, South London – surge in popularity in the past year.

‘The joy of flower pressing lies in its accessibility,’ explains Melissa. ‘You can create an artistic display that will last a lifetime with just a handful of simple flowers from a window box, adding in plants and foliage for extra texture.’

Flowers with flat petals and thin stems, such as clematis, are ideal for flower pressing as they are easy to tease into shape. Photograph: Megan Taylor

Wildflowers such as cosmos, pansies and sweet peas are the easiest to press. ‘The flat petal structure and thin stems of wildflowers make them easier to tease into shape,’ says Amy. ‘More intricate flowers, such as roses, are trickier as petals retain more moisture and mould can set in.’

To press flowers with larger globe-shaped bulbs, such as orchids or ranunculi, split them down the middle with scissors or a knife. This will make it easier to lie them flat on blotting paper. You will need extra blotting paper and card to ensure every part of the flower is directly pressed.

JamJar’s head florist Talena Rolfe selects flowers to be pressed at the evening workshop, including ranunculus and tulips. Photograph: Megan Taylor

Colour will fade over time as the flowers dry, so pick something vibrant that will stand out on the page. ‘Freshly bloomed flowers are best for this,’ says Amy.

For JamJar Flowers, the passion for pressing flowers first started with a commission from Mulberry. ‘We designed pressed flower invitations for their 2015 summer show, despite none of us having a background in professional flower pressing,’ says Amy.

From left: Head florist at JamJar Flowers, Talena Rolfe, founder, Melissa Richardson and director Amy Fielding outside their design studio in South East London.

It was a gruelling process but it wasn’t long before JamJar Flowers were commissioned to design an exhibition of large-scale pressed floral artwork in Covent Garden. Needless to say, they haven’t looked back since.

For year-round colour try drying vibrant flowers such a pink rhodanthus, white statice and yellow achillea. Photograph: Megan Taylor

‘There is something very meditative about freeze-framing a moment in time,’ adds Melissa. ‘Flower pressing helps keep the floral stories of your life forever intact.’

The foolproof way to press flowers

You will need…

  • A selection of flowers and/or plants H Scissors or secateurs
  • Flower press (to buy one go to jamjarflowers.co.uk or etsy.co.uk)
  • Blotting paper
  • Acid-free glue such as Mod Podge
  • A glass photo frame or piece of card

Press your flowers

Open up your flower press and place your flowers on the blotting paper, spreading out the petals and leaves with your fingertips into the desired shape for your composition. Place another layer of blotting paper on top of the flowers, followed by a layer of card, and press down. Repeat this process until your press is full, alternating the placement of the flower heads to evenly distribute the moisture.

Photograph: Megan Taylor

Leave to dry

Close the press and tighten the bolts. Store somewhere warm and dry. Check on your flowers every five days, peeling back each layer of paper gently. Change any damp blotting paper with a fresh sheet to help draw out any excess moisture.

Photograph: Megan Taylor

Mount your pressings

Once your flowers are dry they are ready to be made into artworks or cards. Some fragile plants are ready in five days, larger flowers can take up to a month. Keep checking the press and change the blotting paper if damp. Using a thin paintbrush, apply a water-based glue to the back of the flowers, taking care when brushing the petals.

Photograph: Megan Taylor

Create your artwork

When making your composition think about how your flower would grow, adding any pressed leaves and buds for a natural result. When your composition is complete, it is ready to be framed.

Photograph: Megan Taylor

For more information on flower pressing workshops, visit jamjarflowers.co.uk

JamJar Flowers will be running a pressed flower exhibition at Thyme from the 15th of June-12th of September. For further information visit thyme.co.uk/jam-jar-exhibition