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The History of Drying Flowers: A Brief Overview

by Roxanne's Dried Flowers
The History of Drying Flowers: A Brief Overview

Drying flowers for medicine, fashion, and decoration is a simple yet elegant practice that dates back thousands of years. In fact, archaeologists have found preserved flowers in a Roman tomb that are over two thousand years old. Drying flowers is a practice that humans have always enjoyed. Learn more about the history of drying flowers with this brief overview.

The Ancient Origins of Dried Flowers

The ancient Egyptians were all-around flower enthusiasts. Records show that ancient Egyptians practiced the art of precise, meaningful flower arranging. Drying flowers was also a common practice that made its way into burial rites, religious ceremonies, and other significant occasions. Ancient Egyptians used dried flowers in garlands and other arrangements that they placed within tombs. Beyond decoration, the ancient Egyptians dried flowers to use in perfumes, incense, oils, or even cosmetic pigments.

The ancient Greeks and Romans were also fond of dried flowers—especially in the form of wreaths and garlands. Both civilizations used wreaths to honor warriors, athletes, poets, and politicians. Meanwhile, garlands were decorations that people used to adorn doorways, civic buildings, and monuments. Garlands were also a part of important occasions, like funerals and weddings.

The Middle Ages

Dried flowers were also popular in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, where people believed that dried flowers and herbs had medicinal properties. While the science behind these theories wasn’t always sound, some herbs and flowers did influence medicine of the age. Churches were popular locations for herb gardens. Specialists harvested and dried herbs and flowers to use in teas, ointments, arrangements, and other concoctions to give to the rest of the community.

Japanese Dried Flower Art

In Japan in the 16th century, drying flowers became a precise and honored art form. Oshibana, the art of drying and pressing plants, involves picking, pressing, and arranging dried flowers carefully on washi paper. The result is nature-inspired designs that reflect the reverence Japanese culture held for the flowers and plants of the natural world.

Victorian Floral Fashion

As trade increased between Asia and Europe, Oshibana made its way to English culture. This inspired a new appreciation for dried flowers in Victorian England. Drying flowers became a popular hobby; women used dried flowers to make garlands, design photos, or adorn accessories like fans, jewelry, and gloves. As dried flowers became a fashion staple, an entire culture of language and symbology grew around the art. In fact, using flowers to communicate various feelings and messages—such as love, apologies, or congratulations—is a practice we still use today.

Though the use of preserved florals has changed throughout the history of drying flowers, you can still see traces of ancient practices, art forms, and symbolism today. Keep these traditions alive in your home when you shop the dried and preserved florals at Roxanne’s Dried Flowers. Our online dried flower delivery makes it easy to bring the finest flowers, arrangements, and more right to your door.