Enjoy and share the beauty of your flower garden all year round. Pick and dry a few flowers to use in flower arrangements, craft projects, or as gifts for friends and family.
Pick the flowers when they are at their peak and the flowers are dry. Cut flowers for midday drying when they contain less moisture to reduce drying time.
Use bypass pruning shears or garden scissors to cut the stems above a set of healthy leaves. Remove the foliage and collect them in small bundles. Secure the stems with rubber bands that contract as the stems shrink and continue to hold them firmly. Use a spring loaded clothespin to hang packages from a hanger, clothesline, or nail. Let the flowers dry in a warm, dark, dust-free place.
Flat-faced flowers like daisies tend to close up a bit when dried upside down. Try to lay them face down on a flat surface. Simply cut off the stem and place the flowers face down on a newspaper in a warm, dry place. Once dried, you can glue them in place or use florists’ wire to create stems to organize.
And don’t forget to pick a few pods of perennials and ornamental grasses. These have dried, for the most part, on plants and make great additions to your dried flower arrangements and projects.
Consider visiting your local florist or craft store for more ideas and materials for drying delicate flowers. Silica sand works well for delicate flowers like iris as well as roses, mums and more. Simply fill the bottom inch of a container with silica sand. Remove all but an inch from the flower stem. Place the flower, stem up or to the side, on the surface of the silica sand. Gently pour silica sand over the flowers until they are completely covered. Follow the directions on the label. Most flowers dried this way retain their beauty when dried in silica sand. Just use a small paintbrush to gently remove any remaining sand.
Test the flowers for dryness before putting them in an arrangement or storing them for future use. Gently rub a piece of the flower between your fingers. If it is dry, it is ready to use. If it is still wet, continue to let them dry.
Store additional dried flowers in a low humidity location out of direct sunlight. Consider wrapping it loosely with newspaper or kraft paper to prevent crushing and place it in a box until needed.
Whichever drying method you choose, the result is the same: enjoying the beauty of your garden all year round.
Melinda Myers has written over 20 gardening books, including The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses ‘How to Grow Anything’ DVD series and Melinda’s Garden Moment television and radio program. Myers is a columnist and editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her website is www.MelindaMyers.com.