When the postman delivered this book I realized I had made a slight error and used my Amazon Prime account too hastily. I had wanted a similar book whose title I can't verify right now, but it was something like DRIED IDEAS IN FRESH FLOWERS. Instead this book FRESH IDEAS IN DRIED FLOWERS came and at first I was going to return it for credit, because I have never cared for dried flowers, and I'm a fresh flowers boy all the way, one who often walks into the office with a fresh boutonierre newly snipped from my indoor terrarium. However, knowing the name "Terry Rye" from HGTV, I decided to open up the book and see what she had to say.
Hours later, my head caught up in a dream of dry flowers, I stood dizzily and made my way to the herb garden for a bit of meditation. Quickly I saw how, following Ms. Rye's tips, I could finally, after so many decades, do something about the tragedy that befalls nearly all fresh flowers--when they die, you pretty much have to throw them away. And after watching Al Gore's AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, a hit movie here in San Francisco at least about the tragedy of global warming, I wanted to do something for my trash rather than just throw it away. What Terry Rye does in instill a new passion, fresh ideas is a perfect term for it, a new passion to recycle. And say you have some fresh roses, for example, that you want to last forever? Have you considered microwaving them, or perhaps ten minutes with your wife's hair dryer? I never had, and now I find myself drying flowers and hanging plants the instant they bloom (they can keep some of their polleny sheen on them if you head them off at the pass of life, as it were). My experiments with her methods have also led me to conclude that you can dry flowers in your washer-dryer, but you must leave them on a very low cycle, for they might burn.
In addition, she shows you to make arrangements using some materials unique to dried flowers. Floral foam may not be good for the earth, but it is everywhere, and I don't see how we lived without it all these years. You can buy FF in many colors, not just camouflage green, and Rye's use of topiary foam establishes her a as a pioneer in new ways to make fun three dimensional. A sunflower arrangement changes shape, like the sea-god Proteus, halfway up the stems, and turns into a pair of balls studded with gorgeous, muted autumnal shades of color. I made one for my students' pot luck and I got so many compliments I was blushing like a patch of heliotrope, and I'm not a modest man by nature.
Of course not every arrangement is to my own taste. I don't like the way she hangs araranthus springs, that look lik peapods gone to mold, so that they fall in foot-long strands from the middle of your arrangement, and you can move it, willynilly for that casual "grew" affect, along the surface of the table or mantelpiece or window sill on which your arrangement is resting. Maybe it's my modernism, but that just looks messy to me, as though you forgot to clean up even though you knew company was coming.
But in general, this book wwill wake you up like a gentle slap across the face, and bring you into a new world of different things you can do with the dried parts of the vegetable world you had once thought too unmentionable to work with. Check out her "palette of color" in which you use an actual canvas, covered in mulberry paper, and you paste, pin and glue little linum blosssoms and peonies to "paint your own Van Gogh."