Revel in the calm comfort of taking time out to pick and arrange homegrown blooms and foraged treasures.


It’s fair to say that Julia Atkinson-Dunn has a lot of friends in the form of flowers. Her new book, Flowers for Friends, is a guide to casual and seasonal arranging for gardeners.

Here, she shares a favourite summer arrangemen­t, “Silver Linings”, from her book, which brings together a beautiful and unlikely combinatio­n of flowers and foliage in the vase.

“This is one of my favourite colour palettes I’ve pulled together,” she says. “In fact, I can imagine a sprawling tapestry of a garden bed using these plants only. I love the rust of the sanguisorb­a versus the bog sage blue and chartreuse of the fennel, musty green of the poppy seed heads and flash of orange stamens. The colour and the airy, unusual forms give the arrangemen­t a lacy, wild vibe which feels casual and summery.

Using an old pewter jug pilfered from her mum’s cupboard, she was able to create a loose, fan-shaped outline, using the fennel as a guide and a filler for which the other softer-stemmed plants could find support within. “I use the structural, tall stems of fennel to map out an outline and find my scale for the jug. A simple, graphic dahlia with a short stem finds its home as a statement, and I am constantly trimming stems to suit,” she says.

“Silver Linings” contains common fennel, greater burnet, bog sage, nigella, white veronica, poppy seed heads, white Japanese anemone, white echinacea and dahlias.

For more inspiratio­n check out Atkinson-Dunn’s blog, @studiohome.

An edited extract from Flowers for Friends: Casual, Seasonal Arranging for Gardeners by Julia Atkinson-Dunn, Koa Press, $44.95.

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