Plants used in Well Dressing

Plants that are used on Well Dressing boards

In Mayfield Well Dressing is associated with the month of June; however, in the background there are preparations going on over the twelve months running up to the event in June.

To complete a stunning design, Well Dressing requires a large quantity of petals, foliage, dry goods, and seeds. Seeds in particular need to be collected now and in the coming months, dried, and kept in readiness for June.

A greater variety of natural materials collected from the area would enable a group to add more texture and interest to their designs. It could also reduce time spent Petaling and also help with the costs of production. We have selected a few examples and hope that any new group will have some ideas for what is needed.

Alder cones were used very effectively in the Church Tower design in 2015. Alder trees thrive in damp conditions, often close to rivers. The female catkins develop into distinctive small brown cones that persist on the tree through the winter months and can be plucked from the tree; once dried they are ready for use.

Sweet Cicely seeds. This native plant is part of the carrot family, grows on verges, and has fern-like foliage during the summer months. The flowers resemble cow parsley and in late summer and autumn produce shiny brown seeds, ridged and smelling of aniseed. I have seen them used widely in other village well dressings. They make excellent material for achieving a fine outline or for filling in.

Dried rhubarb seeds. For those of you who have a dried out rhubarb flower stalk waiting to be cut down, there will be a mass of brown seeds which can be shaken into a newspaper and allowed to dry. We used the young green seeds this year in the Magna Carta design.

Halloween is a good time save your pumpkin seeds; washed and dried out, these are great for filling in and were used in the shields of the Magna Carta design.

If anyone eats melons. Please save the seeds; washed and dried.

Poppy seed heads. If you are cutting back in the garden, we would be delighted to have your seed heads.Dried hydrangea flower heads. Perhaps you could spare  even a couple of heads, before painting them gold for Christmas.

Are you having a clear out in your kitchen cupboard? Then any out of date cloves, yellow popping corn, dried butter beans and yellow split peas and orange lentils would be very acceptable.

Are you clearing out your knitting bag? Any scrap balls of double-knitting black or dark brown wool would be very welcome.

Much nearer to the time there will be requests for curly leaf parsley, broken and washed egg shells (used for skin tone), and various types of foliage. Sheep’s wool is very useful for hair but needs to be well washed. For more information contact Mayfield Heritage Group at

email:  mayfieldheritage@gmail.com