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Drying flowers and plant materials

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Flowers fade and die – it’s one of nature’s more questionable and perhaps least sensible policies. But we who cling to broken straws making desperate grabs at fleeting moments of happiness would toil through hell’s heat and hailstorms if it gives us more time with our darling flowers. We know of some crazy amazing ways to preserve and re-purpose our favorite flowers. It all begins with collecting flowers for drying…

Collecting flowers and plant material

Almost every part of a plant – flowers, leaves, stems, seed pods, even the fruit can be dried and utilized for a multitude of decorative purposes. Don’t forget weeds, you might actually find it hard to hate them once you witness the beauty of their preserved forms. Experts will tell you to collect the flowers before they hit full bloom and pick plant materials while they’re in peak condition. Flowers collected just as they’ve started to dry, while the stems are still green tend to do pretty good as well. It’s advisable you pluck or cut the flowers with a length of stem attached to them – gives you plenty of design options. Keep your cuts clean and precise, collect a little extra, don’t cut when the plants are wet, and never pick infected plants for drying. There are several different ways to preserve different flowers and plant material. Take a look at some of the best and the easiest.

Air drying

Astilbe, hydrangea, sage, yarrow and ornamental grasses are very easy to dry. Collect the flowers in lose bundles by tying the stem ends together with a piece of string or a rubber band. You can hang them upside down or place them on a rack or screen raised above ground level in a dark, dry and warm location. Make sure you remove all the leaves from the stems beforehand and that the flower heads don’t touch one another. Larger flower heads should be hung or stored individually. The flowers can take from one to three weeks to completely dry up. Dried petals and even full flower heads can be incorporated in paintings, scrapbooks and used in strategically placed bowls to add charm and aroma to your home interiors.

Pressing

Anemone, azalea, bleeding hearts, crocus, ferns and roses are perfect candidates for pressing and use in pictures, gift cards, stationary and crafts. Simply place the flower or plant material between the layers of a newspaper, blotting or absorbing paper and place a voluminous book or some other weight on it for a period of 7-10 days. Replace the paper after a week and reposition if required.

Spray painting

Good old spray paint works magic with flowers, foliage and even seed pods.

Gently brush off any dust or deposits from the flowers and leaves. Keep the nozzle about 8-10 inches from your target and paint in short bursts, making sure you cover the entire surface. Allow the first coat to dry before repeating. It usually takes 3-4 coats of spray paint to securely glue and preserve your target. You can use your spray painted flowers in glass bottles or shallow vases to adorn the table. Flowers and material painted red can be placed next to bird feeders to attract hummingbirds.

About Vishu Sharma

Vishu Sharma has written 36 post in this blog.

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August 8, 2017