As the long, warm days of summer come to a close, your wonderful flowering garden will fade and die. But, with just a few simple drying techniques, you can preserve the blooms of your garden favorites.
It is best to cut flowers for drying in the early morning, when blooms are fresh and haven't suffered through the heat of the day. Sunflowers, roses, zinnias, Queen Anne's lace, and bachelor's buttons are good flowers to dry. Depending on the flower, there are different drying techniques that work best.
Water drying: Fill a container or vase with about two inches of water. Place stems in the water; allow it to evaporate and wait for blooms to dry. This method is ideal for hydrangea and baby's breath. Flowers dry gradually and aren't as brittle to the touch.
Air bundling: Cut leaves from the stems. This provides aeration and reduces the chance of fungus.Secure bunches with a material such as ribbon or raffia and hang upside down in cool, dry place. Yarrow, salvia, and celosia are best for this method. Herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, and sage can also be dried successfully by air bundling.
Silica: Spread about an inch of silica in the bottom of a container. Since stems don't dry well with this method, trim them to about an inch below the flower. Gently place blooms directly into the silica. Completely cover the bloom with more of the solution. Cover tightly with a lid. Store the container tightly with a lid. Store the container in a dark area. Depending on the flower, it will take about two to four weeks for complete drying to occur. This method absorbs moisture and is better for retaining color that air drying. Note: If you have respiratory problems you should wear a mask because silica ( which looks like sand ) can linger in the air causing some irritation.
Pressing: Place flowers or greenery between the pages of the phone book. Wait for a week or two and you should have perfectly preserved flowers that will brighten your day when the winter winds begin to blow.
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