The Flower Drying Game - Part 1: Air, Sand, and Sources


Article by: Fred Davis

Most average gardeners quietly and sadly resign themselves to a long winter , Creating Woodland Gardens empty of the lovely flowers , Landscaping Tips: What Mulch to Use for Trees that, only a few weeks before, had graced their lives with color , Using the Right Hedge Trimmers in Lawn Care and fragrance. Yes, it's sad to leave the outdoor garden , ing - Growing Cacti At Home behind.

Houseplants relieve some of the sadness, but somehow it's just not the same. I mean, African violets and Christmas Cactus , Colour in the Garden are nice, but I long for my lupines and roses, , How to Grow Wildflowers delphiniums and pansies and all the other wonderfully cheerful little flower-faces that once looked back from the border. Surely there must be a way to bring my favorites in for the winter! , Important Uses of Weeds in the Lives of People The real trick, as you'll soon see, is to plan , Life's a Beach--A Shore Theme in your Outdoor Space ahead.

Enter my very best friend of over 45 years, Linda. . .to my rescue (why am I not surprised?!). "Not to fear," says she. "I'll bring in some of summer's delights and dry them so they can be our company this winter! , Don't Roll that Lawn " "What a marvelous idea!" says I. "But doesn't it take some special trick or magic? Don't we have to take a class or something?" "Well, no" says she. "Just you watch. You'll see!"

So, for the price of a trifling few moments of summer , Birdbaths effort (which this remarkable person calls , Marsh Marigold fun), our home , Landscaping Your Patio is frequently host to a quantity of most attractive little dry flower , A Beautiful Rose Is Nature's Gift arrangements in baskets and vases, adding joy to joy.

You see, there really wasn't any magic involved. All it took was a desire, some good old New England resolve, a few wire coat hangers and some twist 'n ties like the ones that come with most household , Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) 'White Ball' trash bags. Combine those factors and inexpensive materials with a space in your attic or closet"”and selections from the list of "best-bets-to-begin-with" that I'll include below"”and you have arrived at the prestigious stage of "expert."

What's that you say? "Fine time to tell us about this now that the whole world is covered with snow! , Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) 'White Ball' " "Nay," say I! This is the perfect time. Winter , Life's a Beach--A Shore Theme in your Outdoor Space is for planning. If I'd have told you about this in May or June, you'd have been so busy it would never have managed to be squeezed in. Isn't this the time for resolutions? So make one that says: "This is the last winter , Hydroponics Gardening - An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners (Part 10) Nutrients I'll spend with no summertime flowers , How Bat Houses Can Improve Your Backyard Experience in the house! , Creating Woodland Gardens "

The instructions are pure simplicity. On a dry, sunny day, cut your fresh flowers, , How Bat Houses Can Improve Your Backyard Experience leaving fairly long stems. Gather them into small bunches of not more than 6 or 7 stems and wrap the ends tightly with a twist 'n tie. Attach several of these small bunches to a wire clothes hanger so they dangle down, and suspend it in an attic or closet to dry. The drying process takes from ten days to three or four weeks. Most will retain their color, , Fall is the Time to Get Your Garden Trees and Shrubs Ready for Winter: Here's What to Do but a few will turn a pale tan. Not to worry, even softer, faded-out colors , A Beautiful Rose Is Nature's Gift fit into dried flower , Hydroponics Gardening - An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners (Part 10) Nutrients arrangements nicely.

The rest is up to you and your arranging imagination and creativity. Pictures in a book are very helpful. Remember that dried flowers , Plant A Simple Tea Garden are fragile and some delicate parts are bound to shatter away if handled roughly.

Dried arrangements add so much to a home! , Life's a Beach--A Shore Theme in your Outdoor Space They brighten a room , How to Care for Long Stem Roses and certainly brighten spirits. The icing on a cake: they make thoughtful and much appreciated gifts-especially to shut-ins.

That's it for air-drying. Here's the list of "best bets" I promised you: Artemisia; Astilbe; Baby's Breath; Beebalm; Cattails; Celosia; Chive seed , Working with Landscape Contractors heads; Coneflower seed , Free Landscaping Ideas - How To Correctly Plant a Tree heads; Globe Amaranth; Globe Thistle; Goldenrod; Gomphrena; Heather; Helichrysom; Hydrangea (especially "Pee-Gee"); Lavender; Lunaria (seed structures, not the flowers); Ornamental Grasses; Pearly Everlastings; Pussywillows; Salvia; Sea Lavender; Statice; Veronica; Yarrow.

The list could go on but I think you get the picture. Just keep your eyes open and don't be bashful. Now let's tackle a trickier process: drying some of the more delicate and intricate blossoms in sand. , Roman Concrete - How They Did It Large flowers , Three Tips for a Better and Cheaper Lawn like roses, , Landscaping Your Patio carnations, daisies, delphiniums and many others not only lose their shape, but most fade to brown if simply hung out to dry.

Sand Drying. By far the least complicated method is air-drying, but that limits us to a relatively short list of possibilities. Carefully surrounding more delicate and intricate flowers , Redwood Outdoor Decor: Relax This Season With Furniture You Can Trust with sand , Thyme: The Herb of Courage (or silica gel) extends the list considerably and opens the door , Bamboo: a Versatile and Renewable Resource to much more elaborate and lovely floral displays that can last for months.

First, a word or two of caution. Most sand-dried flowers , Bonsai Plant Care: What You Need to Know are extremely fragile, shattering at the slightest misadventure. A playful kitten or curious child will quickly turn a beautiful flower , Three Tips for a Better and Cheaper Lawn into a handful of fragments resembling breakfast flakes. The entire process briefly described below must be undertaken slowly, very deliberately and with the lightest touch. The final requirement is patience. A flower , Garden Etiquette - How To Act When In Another's Garden removed from its sandy bed , Outdoor Living Cleanses The Mind, Body, and Spirit too soon - before it is completely desiccated - will quickly shrivel to don't be too anxious.

Sand. Probably the most difficult first step is finding just the right sand. , Colour in the Garden If you're willing to spend a little extra, most larger craft , Don't Roll that Lawn stores either have in stock or can order sand , Planning Your Flower Garden best suited to the purpose, usually in five-pound tins. You'll need about fifteen or twenty pounds to get started. Since sand , Flower Bulbs: Natures Greatest Gift specifically manufactured for the purpose is completely reusable, it should last a while, especially if it's kept reasonably clean. Silica gel may be too tricky (and too expensive) for the beginner, experimenter or for anyone on a limited budget. It dries flowers , Hydroponics Gardening - An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners (Part 10) Nutrients very quickly but must be timed almost to the exact, "just right" moment.

Silica sand , How to Grow Wildflowers (or "glass sand"), on the other hand, is perfect, much more pleasant to handle and is considerably less expensive. It is almost pure white , Roman Concrete - How They Did It and looks like fine granulated sugar. Beach sand, , Choosing Lawnmowers For Cutting Grass On Tennis Courts masonry or "sharp" builder's sand , Redwood Outdoor Decor: Relax This Season With Furniture You Can Trust and road sand , Are Robotic Lawn Mowers in Your Future? is irregular and dirty, and may leave an unpleasant and difficult-to-remove residue on your dried specimens. Take the time to find just the right kind.

Containers. Sturdy shoe boxes are just about perfect for drying flowers. , Landscaping Tips: What Mulch to Use for Trees Round cardboard oatmeal containers work well, too, but can be a little awkward. Both have close-fitting lids and are stable, not being easily upset. Plastic , Important Uses of Weeds in the Lives of People bags and glass , Are Robotic Lawn Mowers in Your Future? jars are not suitable; neither are grocery or lunch bags. Where? Just the other day someone said to me "Sure, dry all kinds of flowers! , Don't Roll that Lawn But where can I get flowers , Birdbaths this time of year?" A reasonable question, and one that's easy to answer. Here's where you'll find plenty of material"”
    * From a thoughtful spouse or friend who sends or brings you a nice bouquet or potted flowering plant , Solar Outdoor Lighting from a local florist , Important Uses of Weeds in the Lives of People or supermarket.
    * Weddings are happening all around us. In my earlier days as a wedding photographer I attended hundreds of weddings and many had attractive little fresh arrangements at each reception table.
    * There are almost as many funerals as there are weddings (hmmmm). While I don't recommend you go to a funeral just for the flowers, , Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) 'White Ball' very often those large arrangements, loaded with a wide variety of suitable blossoms and greenery, end up in the rubbish after the service. Most funeral homes , Roman Concrete - How They Did It would be happy to see them "recycled."
    * The local florist , Want to Build a Pond? or flower , Pink Hibiscus shop. One or two single daisies or mums shouldn't cost too much. They might even let you have a few of their "rejects." Tiny flaws which make a flower , Reblooming Poinsettia unsuitable for a fresh arrangement are perfectly acceptable for drying. Ask.
    * And of course there's your own garden-next year.

Ok"¦before going to Part 2, run down some suitable sand , Flower Bulbs: Natures Greatest Gift and gather up a few mush or shoe boxes. Also, gather together a paper cup or two, and a small, soft artist's paintbrush. Finally, if you're the type who salvages and recycles such things, a block of dried-out "Oasis""”spongy, green , Garden Etiquette - How To Act When In Another's Garden blocks which florists , Gardening - Growing Cacti At Home use in arrangements"”will make a handy place , Plant A Simple Tea Garden to temporarily hold the finished, dried specimens.

Part 2 in this 3-part series will show you how to , Outdoor Living Cleanses The Mind, Body, and Spirit use your sand , Outdoor Living Cleanses The Mind, Body, and Spirit for drying, and will introduce the secret that florists , Flower Bulbs: Natures Greatest Gift have guarded for decades to retain that "live" look in dry-arrangement foliage accents. Later, in Part 3, we'll get the plans , The Garden Gazebo and instructions for an affordable"”do-it-yourself"”flower press.

View the list of Fred's other articles at:

Fred Davis is a Master Gardener, Master Composter, , How to Care for Long Stem Roses lecturer, and long-time nurseryman. He and his wife, Linda, own and operate a popular perennial , Light Up the Night! Quick Facts about Outdoor Lighting nursery in Palermo, Maine, and maintain a no-frills gardening , Using the Right Hedge Trimmers in Lawn Care information website at: where you'll find answers to your gardening , Are Robotic Lawn Mowers in Your Future? questions.

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