Wisps of Inspiration for a Winter Bouquet

by olivia hoffman
Photos by © Lucy Hunter

**This article is a direct feature from the January/February 2024 My French Country Home magazine. To see more articles like this featuring floral inspiration and bouquet design, be sure to subscribe to the magazine!**

Lucy Hunter is a professional floral designer and author, whom many know from her book The Flower Hunter and from past MFCH tours, where she has generously shared her talent and her insights into some of France’s most beautiful gardens. In the January/February 2024 magazine she relates how she finds inspiration – and a sense of humor – even in the depths of winter.


I find myself following the low winter sun around the house like a lost child during the long, cold month of January. Looking for a moment to sit and create a tiny bouquet and capture it before the daylight disappears over the horizon (where it frankly seems to be having much more fun).

Installed in my studio I switch on a side light that throws a warm glow across the flowers on my table. I extend my fingers towards the lamp, wondering if it will warm them up. My studio is bitterly cold this time of year. I plead my case for some extra heat, as the multiple layers of sweaters I’m wearing make any sudden body movement a near impossibility. My husband suggests lighting the fireplace. I note that this is possibly a terrible idea given all the dried vegetation I’ve hung so artfully around the mantlepiece. He quips that it would make excellent kindling and offers to go and get some matches. I stand without words, wondering how I could possibly have been happily married for so long to someone who fails to see the enchantment and vision in my wispy bits….

Slim pickings from the garden this time of year mean that these dried flowers that I’ve carefully collected over the seasons are now my most valued treasures. Having such a limited number of blooms to work with makes me look harder. It forces me to take time to stop and stare. Each piece must work for its place in the spotlight.

My cold hands wrapped in fingerless gloves, I choose small pieces of Hydrangea Limelight that I’ve saved from the garden in late summer. Tiny flower heads from a Senecio shrub that have dried into a mustard yellow. A small fern leaf and a piece of Clematis vitalba (“old man’s beard”) foraged from the hedgerow that turns into fluffy pom poms and wisps of smoke. A couple of stems of red Leucothoe give the piece a touch of warmth that remind me of the wonderful gardens in France that I visited late in September the year before, just as the season relaxed and danced her final hurrah.  

Placed by a side window, the last beams of the day catch thin fronds of Stipa, their ponytails reaching for the sky while the light bounces off the focal Strawflower nestled at the front. The old copper pot turned to verdigris and antique books bought at a French brocante anchor the piece to the table. I capture my image with a click.

You don’t need a huge number of flowers to make a tiny bouquet in winter. Just a quiet moment for creative thoughts, a few special blooms dried over the season … and possibly several warm sweaters. 

Written and Photographed by Lucy Hunter

Join Lucy and Sharon Santoni on their tour to Provence this June 2024 where Lucy will be hosting bouquet and floral design workshops! Find out more HERE.

Read Next: Discover the Most Enchanting Region in the South of France – Provence

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