Every year, your garden has the potential to display some wonderful flowers. Arranging and tending to them takes a lot of time and effort, so throwing them away can seem like a waste. So why not preserve them to display during the winter months? Follow our guide to preserving flowers to make some bouquets yourself!
Nature offers a vast variety of different plants which are suitable for drying. You can use berries, branches, cones, corncob, fruits, leaves, long grasses and numerous other species of flowers. Be cautious however, not all plants are suitable for drying.
Cut the flowers roughly between the hours of 11am to 3pm, this should be shortly before they flourish and after the morning dew has vaporised. You have the option to cut and preserve many plants at one time throughout the year to make bouquets or decorative items at a later date.
Vaporization by drying
The simplest method of preservation is drying as this removes the humidity from the cells and naturally prevents withering. Don't cut the flowers too short if you wish to utilise them in a bouquet. If they are already too short, extending them using wire or thread is usually the preferred option. You can also use wire or thread to hang up the flowers in a dark, dry and well-ventilated room. This ensures the flowers don't bleach out and also retain their current shape. Take care to check they are hung upside down. From time to time you have to tighten the thread as the stems are gradually shrinking due to the withdrawal of liquid. The flowers should dry after two to eight weeks. To check this, touch the flowers and if they swish they are dry. After drying, you can use hairspray to conserve their colour and shape. Once dried, place your chosen flowers in a vase without water.
For binding a bouquet, you need: a knife, dried plants, glue, scissors and wire.
The method of binding a bouquet is from inside to outside. Proceed with the flowers you want to have in the middle of your bouquet. Then, arrange your other choice of flowers around the bouquet. If you want to bind in a new flower, you must proceed to wrap the entire bouquet with wire. Keep checking if the bouquet has a nice, rounded form. Once this process has finished, you can bind large leaves and grasses around the bouquet for extra aesthetic value. The final step is to wrap wire around the bouquet and cut the stems to the same length. After this your bouquet should be complete and hopefully it can be enjoyed for many years. As an extra option, decorate with rhinestones by simply gluing them onto the leaves.
An example of flowers that can be dried?
Baby's breath, bluebottle, cockscomb, coneflower, hydrangea, lady's mantle, lavender and sunflowers.
Image: © Marek Gaidukevic – Fotolia.com