Flowers commonly used to dress the wells.

The tradition in Barlow dictates that we can use anything 'as long as it grows' and most of what the Barlow well-dresser uses is to be found in the fields and hedgerows around the village. Because of this we are dependent on what nature provides given the time of year and if it's been a wet or dry year.

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Tanacetum Vulgare


Small yellow buttons.

Used for detail, often in the 'shield' above the arch and for lettering.

Achillea Millefolium.

Medium – flat topped – off white. Usually used for the sky.
Atriplex Petula (Common Orache) and Cirsium Arvense (Thistle). Purple. Used for 'rich' clothing.
Thistle gone over (gone to seed). Ideal for blond / grey hair (beards).
Tagetes Patula.

(French Marigold).

Bright yellow and orange. Used for 'rich' clothing.

Anthemis Nobilis

(Roman Chamomile).


Small white buttons. Usually used (dried) for faces (skin tones).
Sedum Spurium


Pale green, used mostly for clothing as in this dress.
Achillea Filipendulina (‘Gold Plate’)


Large – flat topped – bright yellow. Most often used for clothing. 

Euphorbia Peplus

(Petty Spurge).

Care has to be taken with this plant because it contains a poisonous milky white juice. The dresser often puts the plant that he is working with in his mouth if he needs two hands for something else. Definitely not recommended with this one.
Achillea Ptarmica ‘The Pearl’


Small white buttons. Usually used for the main title on the arch but wherever a good white is required i.e. for clothing.
Corn and Wheat Straw Effective for planed wood as in the ship's deck in 2005 ('main' well).
Mountain Ash. The berries are used for red, often used in the arch around the 'title' and on the uprights.  
Hydrangea. Used mostly for blue sky. The flower is 'broken up' into smaller bunches (florets)and then pushed into the clay. The petals are not used on their own.

Rumex Obtusifolius

(Broad Leaf Dock).

Used dead for a rich brown as in the wood of the cross.

Carum Petroselinum


Bright green.

Stachys Lanata

(Lambs Ears).

The soft silver-grey leaves are sometimes used for a water effect.

Silver Lichen Moss.

Found on stone walls is often used and in fact gives a good stone effect for stone walls, metal objects etc.


Moss. Sometimes used in pictures but is most often used round the borders of a picture.
Moss found on stone roofs mixed with soot and soaked in water (the longer the better) to make black.
Calluna Vulgaris

Used to dress the four main poles on the frame and to lay in the bottom of the well when the dressing is complete.

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