Anne K Moore
your taste runs from bright orange to deep red to subtle beige or the many
colors in between, fall is ready for preservation. Drying leaves and flowers is as easy as
plucking and plopping or as difficult as picking and pressing. Pluck a flower head with some stem and plop
it into a vase, with or without water; or cut off flowers that will lay flat,
or almost flat, and press them for floral art.
great in floral arrangements, or just toss them into a basket. When you pick hydrangeas for drying, choose
fully open flower heads with stiff stems.
If the heads tend to flop over, they won’t dry satisfactorily. The best way I have found to dry them is in a
vase of water. Cut a bouquet, put it in water,
and set the flowers out of direct sun and drafts until they dry. This is a good way to preserve the pink or
blue color. Most directions suggest
drying flowers by hanging them in a cool place but I have found that a hot
attic area dried my hydrangeas quickly and with few losses.
You can also allow
the hydrangea blossoms to dry on the plant.
Most of them take on that beige hue, so popular in decorating. Just make sure you cut them with short stems,
leaving the buds of next year’s flowers on the bush. Leave behind a few flowers on the bushes,
too, for the birds. Come winter, when
food is scarce, little birds work the seeds out of the heads. If you want to use the short-stemmed blossom
heads in an arrangement, just attach floral picks or wire with florists tape to
the short stems and arrange them as you wish.
up the chance to use ditch flowers. Graceful
grass seed heads, golden rod, even seedpods and cones from coneflowers look
good in arrangements and are very easy to dry.
You can stand them in a vase or wrap the stems of loose bundles with a
rubber band and hang them out of sunlight.
experiment with small single flowers or leaves by pressing them between
paper. Add fern leaves to your drying
collection. They make wonderful wall
art, glued to a background, covered with glass, and framed. You need not buy expensive flower presses or
blotting paper. Just recycle those large
telephone books and yellow pages.
pages in phone books are just the right consistency for pulling out
moisture. Lay the flowers as flat as you
can in a single layer on a page in the middle or three quarters of the way back
in the book. If it isn’t a large book,
just pile some more books on top to make a heavy press. This can be stored anywhere in the house; there
are no temperature requirements. Then
In a few
weeks, maybe sooner depending on the flower or leaf, you can carefully pick out
your new art collection. Using
see-through craft glue for sticking, arrange the flowers in a bouquet on a
backing paper you can frame. If you are
artistic, draw in stems. If you are art
inclined but untalented, use a print of a bouquet and add your dried material
on top, making a collage.
fall flowers now for a pick-me-up during those short days coming all too
soon. When winter traps you indoors, you
can still appreciate the natural world.
Creating something beautiful for your home is almost as much fun as
planning next year’s garden.