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Growing flowers to dry

Ancient Egyptians preserved elaborate garlands and made detailed preparations using grains and herbs for their dead to enjoy in the next world. Medieval monks harvested and dried flowers and herbs for medicinal purposes. Victorian ladies considered floral garlands to be an essential fashion accessory. They displayed dried flowers in glass domes and designed clever pictures using dismembered cones, lavender, barley and ribbons. The interest in dried flowers comes in waves bringing all the old applications and techniques along with fresh inspirations and ideas. Today, dried flowers are very popular. They are long lasting, tolerant of most temperatures and offer a wide range of subtle and striking colors.

Growing Your Own
You donít need a large area to grow enough plants for several large arrangements. Plan your garden so you can enjoy it year round by planting evergreens, deciduous plants, annuals and perennials. Plant rows of flowers in your vegetable garden. Herbs are easy to grow, and can be planted in pots and window boxes. They transform simple cooking into gourmet dishes, and delicately scent a room when dried and used in a wreath or an arrangement. You can usually find a wide selection of weeds, grains, seed-heads and pods in craft stores. By drying your own focal flowers such as; hydrangeas, zinnias, roses, dahlias and sunflowers; and a selection of line flowers such as: larkspur, delphinium and liatris you can save money and have a greater variety of flowers in your arrangements.

Successful drying depends not only upon the preserving process, but also upon picking the fresh plants at the right time. Cut the flowers in the early morning or late evening. At these times the flowers are fully saturated with water. Enjoy cut roses as they open. Just before they reach full bloom, remove them from the water and hang them up to dry. Delphiniums, larkspur, foxglove and lupin should be gathered when the lower buds are flowering, but the very top ones are still closed. Select flowers and leaves that are perfect specimens. Visible pollen seeds and wilting or missing florets on flower spikes indicate an over-mature flower. Drying flowers that have tears, holes in the petals or foliage is a waste of time, because the drying process will only emphasize imperfections. Cut flowers when the heads feel firm, just before they come into full bloom. When preserving in a solution of water and glycerin, collect foliage in the summer when the leaves are at peak maturity. Young green leaves will not absorb the glycerin solution, and autumn leaves have stopped drinking water and sap. So, both are unsuitable for absorbing glycerin.

floral wires and floral tapes

Stem Supports
Many flower heads are too heavy for the dried stems to support during the drying process. Cut the stems and wire them before hanging them out to dry. Cover the wire stems with floral tape after the flowers are dry. Some flowers can be wired after they are dried, but it is easier to wire them when they are fresh, because the wire slips through the moist heads more easily. Wire several stems of one type of flower or seedpod together for a more dense, brightly colored effect. Use two to four sprigs of flowers in a bunch.

Storing Dried Flowers and Foliage
The safest way to store dried flora is in long, shallow cardboard boxes. Poke holes in the sides and top so the air can circulate, and add small packets of desiccants to absorb any moisture. Wrap bunches of like-flowers in tissue or newspaper, and lay them in a head and foot arrangement. Donít overcrowd. Label the box and store where the temperature is relatively constant. Very delicate material can be stored hanging upside down with an umbrella of tissue paper to protect the flowers from light (which fades) and dust.




How to dry flowers
Dried Banksia
Dried Calendar for children
Dried Fruit
Dried Roses
Collecting flowers for drying
Make a dried flower topiary
Growing flowers to dry
Make holiday decorations using aromatic pine cones
Skeletonized leaves
Dried Statice


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