Over the river and through the woods every Sunday when I was growing up….to Grandmother’s house I’d go, reluctantly. She’d be waiting for me, dressed in a flowery dress that she sometimes made herself on the old Singer sewing machine, those clunky old black shoes, and a hat, sometimes also embellished with flowers. She even smelled a little like flowers mixed with Chicklets chewing gum. She always gave me a piece of the hard white stuff to bite down on as we headed out the front door to Grandfather’s car where he was (also reluctantly) waiting to drive us to Church.
Grandmother also kept a copy of The Family Heirloom Bible. It was gold in color and weighed about 20 pounds. It sat on the coffee table right in front of the couch with the doilies on it. Inside the behemoth Bible there were places to record every family event. All of the births, deaths, marriages and anniversaries were meticulously logged into their rightful place. Sometimes she would take a single flower, most often a rose, place it between two pieces of tissue paper, and press it between the pages of the book next to the appropriate verse. This was the only time that the Bible was opened. It wasn’t for everyday use. Sometimes the dried flowers would be discovered years later like a treasured memory that somehow drops onto your lap.
Drying flowers can be an excellent way of preserving mementos of special occasions or just beautifying your home. Dried flowers look nice with other dried materials or as part of an arrangement that includes live flowers. You can use them in bouquets, wreaths, table arrangements, and potpourri. Dried materials last a very long time with very little maintenance.
There are a number of ways to dry flowers:
First of all, pick the very best flowers just before they peak because they will continue to open as they dry. Flowers that are diseased, wilted or have insect damage won’t get any better as they dry.
Air Drying: This is one of the easiest ways to dry flowers because you don’t need any equipment or other materials. Just hang the flowers upside down in a warm, dry place where there is plenty of air circulation for several weeks until they feel crisp.
Hang small flowers in bunches and large ones individually. Do not cut off the stem when air drying flowers. Clothes hangers work well. Remember: if you want to preserve the color, hang the flowers in a dark place. Sunlight will cause them to fade.
Pressing Flowers: This is another easy way to dry flowers. Layer your flowers between layers of absorbent materials such as newspapers, old telephone books, and catalogs. (or the family Bible)
Burying Flowers In Desiccants: Another way is to bury the flowers in desiccants or drying materials such as fine sand, borax, silica, or clay. (Kitty litter works pretty good) Unlike hanging flowers to dry where you include the stem, here you just place the heads in a box and cover with a layer of the drying material.
Microwave Oven: Yes you can even dry flowers in the microwave oven. Place the flowers in a microwave-safe container and cover with a desiccant. Microwave on medium for about one to three minutes. If you have a microwave thermometer, heat the flowers to about 160 degrees.
Now you’re ready to dry flowers for all occasions. You can even arrange them and put them in frames. It’s a great activity for the kids as the weather turns cooler. Then, even in the dead of winter you can add a splash of color to your kitchen, living room, or bath.