Nov 2, 2011

Collecting Dried Flowers

I have a friend. She loves dried flowers. A number of years ago, she was transitioning between homes and called to ask if I could hold on to her dried flower collection for her. I said "Sure! Bring it on by." It ended up being a whole car load! To be fair, we both worked in a flower shop. 

I like dried flowers. I've kept some special ones. I've held on to a few specifically to decorate during the holidays. At times I've had more dried flowers than anyone should have. And at other moments I've had no dried flowers at all. Comme ci comme ca. 

Not all flowers can be dried. This site offers a really comprehensive list of flowers (including their Latin names) that are dry able. Some of my favorites are; Craspedia, Amaranth, Poppy Pods, Strawflower, Safflower, and Eucalyptus. I love dried flower wreaths during the holidays instead of your typical evergreens; Bittersweet in the fall and Rosehips for Christmas. 

Drying flowers at home doesn't have to be that difficult. The easiest method is air drying. Prep your stems by removing any access foliage-petals and leaves. Rubber band bunches, if you'd like them to stay grouped. (It is important to use a rubber band and not string as the rubber band will change in size as your stems shrink in the drying process.) Find a dark area with good circulation (keep flowers out of the sun and they will maintain some of their original coloring). Hang them upside down. An easy trick would be tying them to a hanger in a closet, or a tack on a wall in a dark corner. Keep them there for at least 3 weeks-until completely dry. Some folks recommend a spritz of hairspray for added protection (after they are dried, of course) but I can only imagine this would make them tacky and prone to dust. 

Now what? So you've dried your favorite flowers, to keep them around forever. What are you supposed to do with them now? The photographs seen above are all great examples (and they are available for purchase on Etsy.) You could make potpourri-which is a good holiday gift idea. Or you could make a non-holiday-specific wreath. What about making scented satches? A little bunch of lavender in a linen closet would be divine. You could make this great woodland frame. It would be perfect for a cabin. Or press and preserved herbs for a beautiful presentation. But you could always just simply set them out in your faviort vase. 

If you are interested in learning more about collecting, preserving and displaying dried flowers, I suggest you begin here at Dried Flowers Galore a great reference site. Speaking as someone who has worked with flowers; it is always helpful to ask for advice from your local flower shop. They can tell you which species will dry better than others, how they look when dried and how long it takes. I found a few titles on Amazon that may be helpful; "Preserved Flowers: Pressed and Dried," "Basic Dried Flower Arranging: All The Skills And Tools You Need To Get Started," "Fresh Ideas In Dried Flowers," and "Harvesting, Preserving & Arranging Dried Flowers." 

Just for fun check out this gorgeous photography book by Jane Feldman Gross, featuring lovely images of dried blooms; "Afterlife Of Flowers."

Thank you Etsy sellers for the use of your beautiful photographs.

1 comment: