Making The Most Of Your Garden-Drying Flowers!

When flowers are at their prime it is wonderful to go into the garden and pick some of the wonderful blooms and preserve them by drying them. Their colour and scent can  cheer you up on the dreary days of winter when the garden is at rest and nothing much is blooming.

The easiest, and in my mind the most effective way of drying flowers is to gather small bunches of flowers which are at their peak. Pick the flowers in the cool of the day when they are dry. Strip off their leaves as these retain moisture and slow down the drying process.
Form each of the bunches of flowers out of one type of flower so that they will dry at the same rate and try to arrange the heads at different levels, this allows air to circulate which cuts down on the growth of mould or mildew which will ruin all your hard work. Tie them together with an elastic band. As the flowers dry there will be some shrinkage in the stems and the elastic will adjust to this and keep the flowers safely together. Thread some twine or raffia through  the elastic and hang them in a warm place away from direct sunlight.  Keep the bunches about six inches apart, again so that the air can circulate well around the flowers.
It will take from 1-4weeks for the flowers to fully dry. This will be dependent on the type of flowers, the weather and the amount of moisture that the flowers may be holding. When the flowers are completely dry they become crispy with a paper like feel, any leaves should be dry and brittle.

To dry flowers such as hydrangeas, delphiniums, grasses and seed heads, place the flower heads in a tall vase with about 5cm/2inches of water and stand them upright. If they are in danger of drooping over place some chicken wire in the top of the container and pop each stem through one of the holes to support their heads. Place the container in a warm area again away from direct sunlight. The flowers will absorb some of the water and the rest will evaporate, the flowers will slowly dry as you enjoy looking at them.

Once your flowers are dried they will need careful handling, but you can create a beautiful display which will brighten up many a corner of your home.