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Dried Grasses Arrangement

Updated on October 27, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

As a teacher at all levels and mother of five children, Bronwen has been interested in a variety of crafts for both children and adults.

Dried Grasses Arrangement
Dried Grasses Arrangement | Source

Collecting the Grasses

Collecting grasses can be fun, it doesn't cost a thing except a little time and it's not difficult, either. When I want to make a new arrangement, I simply collect some stems of grasses that attract me as I walk my little dog. Although I live in a Melbourne suburb, it is surprising the variety that I can find. As the grasses grow their seed heads, I can collect a small bunch of different ones every few days until I have enough that are drying and ready to use in my arrangement.

You will notice that I do not know the botanical names of the grasses, but from my descriptions, you will probably be able to recognize some that I have used. Among them are common names such as

  • Shell grass (some people call this blow-fly grass but I don't like flies and this is a pretty grass),
  • Shivery grass (almost a mini version of shell grass; it shivers in the slightest breeze),
  • Bunny tails (so pale and soft),
  • Wild oats and
  • Soldier Boys (these last two seem to go together, don't they?).

Shell Grass Drying Flat
Shell Grass Drying Flat | Source

Drying the Grasses

I find that some grasses are best dried flat, for example the shell grass. The heads are fairly heavy and if hung they may end up pointing upwards, rather than hanging down as they are in nature.

Other grasses can be tied with string or ribbon, or as I have done in the photograph below, simply with an elastic band. Sometimes, if I have a big bunch, I will hang it from a nail in the garage, but as the shivery grass is fine and dainty, I've just hung it from the laundry door.

Bunny tails are often dyed after they are dry and they can add to the variety of colour as well as the different shapes and textures in an arrangement. However, in my arrangement, the bunny tails have retained their natural colour.

Shivery Grass Hanging to Dry
Shivery Grass Hanging to Dry | Source

Adding Other Seeds for Variety

There are two reasons for adding other seed heads from the garden. In my arrangement I have added Honesty and Lavender, but there are many others that could be chose.

  1. Honesty: It adds variety of shape and texture
  2. Lavender: It adds a contrasting colour

Most of the grasses dry to a pleasant autumnal pale brown; the Honesty adds a lovely silver sheen as well as the disc shape while the Lavender retains a darker colour. Both of these dry quite well hanging upside down.

After the Honesty is dry, the two outside shells of the seed-boxes need to be removed. As you do this, you can collect the seeds and save them to plant next season. The inside 'disc' has a lovely silvery sheen and is transparent (as honesty is!). Honesty will yield quite tall stems for your arrangement. Lavender can be tallish, too.

Wild Oats - the Grassy Sort
Wild Oats - the Grassy Sort | Source
Even in the Suburbs Wild Grasses Thrive
Even in the Suburbs Wild Grasses Thrive | Source

The Soldier Boy Game

We each plucked a soldier that had a strong stem.

Then our soldiers would 'fight.'

We each took turns to hit the other person's soldier across the top of the stem near the seed-head, with our soldier's stem.

Eventually one of the soldiers would have his head chopped off, so the other was the winner. Fun! (And we were girls!)

Soldier Boys

Again, I am quite ignorant of the real name of these grasses, but the arrangement at the bottom of the article includes what we used to call Soldier Boys (see below) when we were children, and this has stuck ever since in our family. Soldier Boys dry well, although the brim of their hats is likely to disintegrate.

These weeds are found in so many nature strips and when the strips are not mown for a while the Soldier Boys can spring up quickly. They're such fun. They have fairly broad leaves that lie flattish on the ground and the strong thin stems shoot up, often so that they almost form a circle above the leaves. Because of this, we said that the leaves were the campfire and the soldiers stood tall around it.

As Kids, We Called this Soldier Grass
As Kids, We Called this Soldier Grass | Source

Try this Quiz; it's simple

Have you ever made dried grass arrangements?

See results

Arranging the Grasses

When the grasses are completely dry, and that only takes a couple of weeks, the stems will have stiffened and are ready to be arranged.

  • If the finished arrangement is to be placed in front of a wall, it's a good idea to put all the taller grasses in the back first, and then complete the arrangement with the shorter ones in front.
  • If it is planned to put the arrangement in the centre of a table, it is best to put the taller grasses in the middle of the vase and the smaller-stemmed grasses around these.

Note:

You may need to add some pebbles or marbles to the base of the vase; without water to weight it, the vase make become top-heavy if your arrangement is tall.


Dried grass arrangements are simple to make and can look attractive in different corners of a home. They have the advantage that they do not require water that needs frequent topping up - and they last all winter.

The next Spring you may want to gather more grasses to replace ones that have become dusty. Unless someone is allergic to grasses, they're very useful, as, unlike living plants, they also do not use up oxygen in a room at night. If you wish, some pot-pouri may be added inside the vase to add to the enjoyment of your arrangement.

Dried Grasses, Another View
Dried Grasses, Another View | Source

© 2013 Bronwen Scott-Branagan

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    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 13 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      norlawrence: Thank you! I'd forgotten about this one, but I still have the arrangement in the photograph. It's surprising what is around that we don't normally notice, thinking they're just old weeds. I must look again myself.

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      Norma Lawrence 13 months ago from California

      I love your article. The arrangements are gorgeous. I am afraid we do not have any suitable grass around this area for an arrangement. Thanks

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 18 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Peggy W: How lovely to begin as a child. That's the best place to start and then we really appreciate and remember what we have learned. That was so useful finding out about wild mushrooms, too - somehow they taste so much better. Thank you for your comments.

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      Peggy Woods 18 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I did this as a child in Wisconsin. There was an Indian (native American) woman who lived nearby and who coached us on collecting and making these arrangements. We used to paint the insides of milk weed pods. She taught all kinds of crafts and her basement was set up for many such projects. She also taught us about what wild mushrooms were edible. Nice lady! Your arrangement is lovely.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      crayonbrains: It is simple, easy to do and doesn't cost anything except time. Apart from that, I love to have the chance to enjoy nature and the great variety there is in the different types of grasses. Thank you for your comments (twice over!).

    • crayonbrains profile image

      crayonbrains 3 years ago from The World Is Mine !

      So simple, creative and beautiful. I loved the idea of drying grass and using it for decoration purpose. Thanks for sharing Blossom.

    • crayonbrains profile image

      crayonbrains 3 years ago from The World Is Mine !

      So simple, creative and beautiful. I loved the idea of drying grass and using it for decoration purpose. Thanks for sharing Blossom.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Tolovaj: Oh, dear! Yes, I did hear about those winter storms.

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      Tolovaj 3 years ago

      I certainly don't miss forest fires too, BlossomSB! On the other hand our winter which came very late this year, just destroyed half (yes, half) of our wood and caused huge economic damage (hundreds of thousands of people lost electricity, for instance).

      Yes, you are right, we are never satisfied...

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Tolovaj: Yes, there are lots of ways they can be arranged, depending on where you want to put it. Not sure about reminding you of summer! It's summer here and has been 10 deg. above normal with so many bush-fires all over the State. I guess we're not always satisfied with what we have, are we?

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      Tolovaj 3 years ago

      These are so beautiful and they can be arranged in surprisingly numerous ways... Thanks for reminding me of the spring and summer!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      AudreyHowitt: Thank you, Audrey, for visiting this hub. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      So lovely and practical!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Vellur: Grasses are so common everywhere and we often just look on them as weeds, but they can be great as decoration and many of them are the basis of what our foods have developed from. Thank you for your vote, too.

      Phyllis Doyle: How lovely! That one you describe must be very tall and sounds really interesting and useful for dried grasses arrangements. Thank you for your lovely comments.

      dghbrh: Thank you, I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading this hub. Sometimes we think that permanent displays only gather dust, but when they're dusty dried grasses can be thrown out and new ones dried to replace them.

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      deergha 3 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

      Nice hub...thanks for sharing. Shared and votes way up.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Blossom, this is such a delightful hub for me to read. I live in Nevada where we have an abundance of wild grasses and flowers. I love to collect them in the autumn when they are already dry. I do not know the names of the ones I have on the little mountain behind me, but, they are lovely.

      There is one variety that has quite long sturdy stems with little bunches of dried seed heads -- almost the entire stem is heavily covered with them. The whole bush turns a dark reddish brown when dried and they are lovely standing in a tall vase on the floor. The only places I can find them are further out of town, usually in someone's neglected fields on farms. I cannot find any pictures of them, because I do not know the name.

      I enjoyed reading your hub. Thank you.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great hub, I never thought that grass could be used for decorating. Interesting and informative hub about types of grasses used for decoration. Voted up.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      drpastorcarlotta: It's not big, but I love it. Thank you so much for your vote. Wishing you a holy and happy Christmas.

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      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 3 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      I bet your home is beautiful!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I voted -up! on this well written Hub. Come visit me when you have some time. Be Blessed!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      vibesites: There are some good fake grasses, but I prefer the real thing. Some dried grasses are available to buy, but drying our own is not difficult and then it means so much more, too. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Sheri Faye: Embedding them in resin is a great idea, too. They would look really pretty. Thank you for sharing.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Very pretty and great ideas. I have been embedding dried grasses and flowers in resin lately and it works! Great hub!

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 3 years ago from United States

      I have seen some "fake" grasses sold as decorations in the department stores. I wonder if they're actually real grass? Possibly. Really nice, I might try to add that to my living room. Good thing I'm not allergic to grasses. Thanks for sharing this.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      phdast7: I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I'm not sure which is my favourite, perhaps the shell grass or the bunny tails. Thank you for your good wishes and may your Christmas be holy and happy, too.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Blossom - What a lovely Hub. I thoroughly enjoyed your pictures and thee explanations about how to dry ad display them. I think the delicate silver grass is my favorite. I hope all is well and that you have a Blessed Christmas. Theresa

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It's not difficult, or I wouldn't try! My Mother used to win prizes for her flower arrangements, so I left it all to her. Hope you try to have fun with this, too.

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      ignugent17 3 years ago

      Great ideas. It is really beautiful. :-) I always admire how people could make a simple grass into a center of attraction.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I hope you do, it's fun and rewarding. Thank you for coming by.

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      Fehl Dungo 3 years ago from close to you...

      Wow I would love to try this some day. Thank you for the helpful tips :)

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      suzettenaples: I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I guess using the door knob is a bit unorthodox, but it works! Now I'm in a smaller abode I need to be inventive. Yes, it's surprising what can be found in unexpected places. Thank you for your comments.

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      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Thank you for the tutorial. This was so interesting to read and I love your dried grass arrangement. So lovely. And drying grass on a doorknob. I have never seen that before nor have I ever thought of that before! You are right, even in the suburbs, you can find some wild grasses!

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Nellieanna: That's lovely that you enjoy picking little bouquets when you are out. It would be a great idea to dry them yourself. The result may not be quite as professional as bought ones, but they mean so much more when it's your own effort. That's fascinating that the grasses are so different where you are - it makes the world so interesting, doesn't it?

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      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      I can never resist picking a bouquet of whatever wild flowers, grasses and 'weeds' are handy when I'm out and about. I've never actually dried them to preserve them, but it's a lovely idea. I've bought dried things for arrangements, though. Since I like doing things myself, I must try this!

      It's fascinating to see the different grasses over there from those which are native over here. None of the ones you've featured are familiar to me, though perhaps similar ones are.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Eiddwen: I'm glad you enjoyed it, Eddy. I've just looked at your FaceBook and you have some beautiful collages there. Wishing you a great weekend, too. Bronwen.

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      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful hub Blossom and one for me to vote up and share. Here's wishing you a great weekend.

      Eddy/

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      kidscrafts: Ha! I was so interested in the grass I didn't even notice that! Clever of you. Yes, I love the shell grass, although I'm not sure which is my favourite, the shell or the bunny tails. Thank you again!

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I am sure that "beige" has been in the English vocabulary since a long time... it's just that sometimes I think I know the English word and I through in a word in French that I know :-) Sometimes when I am really lucky it's the same word in both languages :-)))

      By the way, I noticed that you took a self portrait with your camera... we can see you twice in the picture with the shivery grass :-) I took pictures of myself (or my shadow) a few time; that's what happens when we concentrate so much on the task!

      I can tell you that the grass that fascinates me the most in your collection is the shell grass :-) I never heard of it before and the shape is just fascinating! Thanks again!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      teaches12345: Thank you. It's the grasses, not me! I'm not really good at arranging flowers. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Your creativity is amazing and I love the arrangements you made. I love to bring nature indoors for the fall season and this is a great way to do it. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      RTalloni: That grass you chose sounds very interesting and Black Eyed Susan would be good, too. It's fun to do such things, isn't it? I love bringing the outdoors inside. Thank you for your comments.

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      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      For the first time this fall I dried a handful of a grassy plant leaf (it grows a tiny orange bloom in the summer) before cutting it back for the winter. Standing in a dry vase it changed colors. I was amazed to see it turn a beautiful bronze that I could use in an arrangement. I like to use Black Eyed Susan seed heads, also. Thanks for this neat look at using natural elements from our gardens for arrangements!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Faith Reaper: Thank you. They are fun to make and help to make a house more homely - a reminder of the great variety in God's wonderful creation, too. Thank you for your vote and sharing.

      tobusiness: We do things like that, don't we? Enjoy doing a certain thing, admire the results and then move on. It's nice to come back and enjoy them all over again, so I'm glad that I was able to be a reminder. Thank you.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Blossom, a beautiful hub. I used to love decorating with different grasses, but I haven't used them in a while. However, I did plant some in the garden. Thank you for the reminder. Voting up and awesome.

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Blossom,

      I love the dried grass arrangement and your arrangement is beautiful. I remember I had some long ago. They are fun to make and are so beautiful too and add that special touch.

      Up and more and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Jackie Lynnley: You are right. I'd forgotten, but it's probably why I don't use it any more. I'd also forgotten that some people call what I call Honesty, money seed - perhaps it will bring in some more money! Yes, it is an old fashioned plant, but I love growing it; the flowers are pretty, too.

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am sure knowing what we do today that it would be much healthier not to use the hair spray. It sure preserved them good though. lol I love the money tree seeds in your arrangement, they remind me of my mom. She always grew those.

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Kidscrafts: Ah, yes, of course, in a bilingual country like Canada! Although beige has been in the English vocabulary for a long time, too. Just getting old!

      FlourishAnyway: It's a pleasure to share, and as you write, it's lovely to bring the outdoors in and be able to continue to enjoy it in the winter.

      LadyFiddler: That's interesting, spraying the paper to keep it stiff. I've even heard of people spraying arrangements with hair spray. Thank you for pushing all my buttons!

      ExpectGreatThings: I think shell grass and and the soft little bunny tails are my favourites. Have fun with the Soldier Boys!

      Jackie Lynnley: Yes, it's something that even quite small members of the family can enjoy collecting. I should have read ahead before replying to LadyFiddler, as you have remembered about the hair spray, and how useful it was, too.

      Frank Atanacio: We all do interesting things, or have done in our youth, and it's fun to share them and learn from each other. Bless you, too. I hope you do try - and enjoy!

      Mhatter99: Lovely memories! Thank you, too.

      MsDora: It really is easy. My mother used to win prizes for her flower arrangements, so early on I decided to leave it to her. I'm not good at arranging, but the grasses just seem to more or less fall into place.

      Jeanne Grunert: Thank you. I've got into the habit of using my own photos and then I'm sure there's no problem with copyright. Thank you for your vote, too.

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      Jeanne Grunert 3 years ago from Virginia

      Very pretty, great ideas, and excellent use of original photos. Voted up and useful!

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is really good, and you make it look so easy. I'll take your word that it is, and I intend to try it. Thank you for sharing. So creative!

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      Martin Kloess 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Arlene was real good at this. thank you

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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      blossoms you do come up with hubs that teach and etertain yeah I might even try some of these... bless you

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Those are pretty and reminds me I use to collect dried grasses outside years ago and sprayed them with aqua net hair spray that was like 50 cents a can; do you remember it? It was like shellack on those grasses, would hold them forever. lol

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      ExpectGreatThings 3 years ago from Illinois

      I love the shell grass! I wonder if we have that around here. Also, thank you for reminding me of the Soldier Boy Game. I don't think we had a name for it when I was growing up, but we played something very similar. Now it will be fun to teach the kids :) - Ginger

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      Joanna Chandler 3 years ago from On planet Earth

      Blossom this is so pretty I remember my mum use to make lovely flowers some like those and others from the crimped paper which she will then spray to make firm etc. I pushed all your buttons and will be sharing.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      These are particularly appropriate for fall, bringing the outdoors in. I never heard of soldier grass but have certainly seen it before. Thanks for sharing you idea with us.

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      For me it was an easy word, Blossom... it's French :-) When I speak, I sometimes I use French words.... give them an English accent.... thinking it's an English word ;-) And than I am surprised when people don't understand what I say ;-)

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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      annart: That must be so annoying that they give you hay fever. The dried flowers for your daughters' weddings must have been very special and would have looked much better than my attempts at arrangement.

      kidscrafts: Beige! That's a word I was looking for - thank you! Probably lots of people know those grasses by different names, but that's what we called them and they are rather evocative of their characteristics.

      rebeccamealey: I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's such a fun thing to do.

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      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I love rustic arrangements like your dried grasses. Thanks for sharing!

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Very interesting hub, Blossom! I love your dried grasses arrangement; just beautiful! I never heard of shell or shivery grasses! It's interesting to see the colours of the different grasses before you dry them and after. They each give a different shade of beige... very nice!

      Thanks for sharing, Blossom :-)

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      I love grasses though in the summer they give me hay fever! Shivery Grass - what a great name! This is a useful and interesting hub. I've recently dried flowers from my daughters' weddings; hanging and lying flat produces different, interesting results. Great photos too. Ann