|March 2, 2005||Posted by Secretary under Gardening||
There are four popular ways of drying flowers. :- Air drying, Glycerine, Moist drying and by using a desiccant.
Air drying is the simplest method; pick the flowers with as long a stem as possible when they are just fully out. Strip off the leaves and hang them upside down in bunches of 3 – 6 stems in a cool, dark, airy place until fully dry.
Glycerine is helpful in giving grasses a lovely silken sheen or to retain a plants suppleness. Dilute 1 part glycerine in 2 parts hot (boiled) water, mix together well and stand the plant in a jar containing 2-3 ins (5-7.5 cm) of the mixture. Leave for 4-5 days until they change colour.
Leave on the plant until the flowers are fully mature then cut, remove all the foliage and stand in a jar containing 2ins (5cms) of water. Once this has been used up they should be allowed to dry naturally. If the petals show signs of withering once the water is used up add a little more water.
This method is useful for the more fleshy flowers, which don’t dry easily by any other method. Use a cardboard shoebox or similar and cover the bottom with ½ – ¾ in (12-18mm) of desiccant (silica gel or similar). Place the flowers on this and work the desiccant carefully in among the petals until they are fully covered and only the stem shows. For a first attempt it’s best to start with daisy like flowers, which should be placed face downwards in the desiccant. Seal the lid on the box with sellotape and place in a WARM DRY place until dry.
The time taken will depend on the size and texture of the flowers, but it usually takes around 2 weeks. Lift the flowers out with extreme care and brush off any surplus desiccant with a soft paintbrush.
Seed heads should be left on the plant until fully ripe, and then be brought in and air dried for several weeks.
Gourds should be harvested when fully ripe, this can be seen by the fruit changing colour and becoming hard. Leave them on the vine a little longer if you are doubtful. Cut the gourd with a small piece of stem attached and bring in to room temperature to dry. After several weeks when fully dry they can be given a coat of clear varnish if required.