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Drying Flowers for Winter Bouquets

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  • Drying Flowers for Winter Bouquets

    Drying Flowers for Winter Bouquets

    As you stroll through your garden clipping flowers for your table, cut some extra for drying so you can enjoy them throughout the winter months too. Strawflowers, statice, cockscomb, and globe amaranth are commonly grown for drying, however many other flowers, such as hydrangeas, delphiniums, yarrow, globe thistle, sea holly, and oregano, can be easily air-dried for winter bouquets. And don't forget the dried grasses when they flower in the fall. Here are some harvesting and drying tips:

    Harvesting:

    * Harvest stems just as the first flowers reach maturity. Flowers on the upper stem area may be partially closed, but that's fine. Flowers will continue to open after they are picked.

    * The best time of day to cut is midmorning, after the dew has dried but well before any flowers wilt. Dampness can lead to mold and slows drying. If you live where the weather is often rainy, harvest when the plants are dry even if it means cutting them a little .

    Do not wait out the weather and harvest damp or over plants.

    * Take as much stem as possible because you'll need long stems for bunching and for height in the arrangements.

    * Harvest more flowers than you think you'll need. Many preserved flowers are fragile, and you will undoubtedly lose a few in the drying and storing process.

    Air-drying:

    * Choose a cool, dry room for air-drying. Spare bedrooms or large closets make good drying rooms, but hot attics and damp cellars generally do not. Garages and sheds are tempting, but they offer less control over temperature and, sometimes, can be excessively warm.

    Low light is fine, but not direct sunlight. If you have a dehumidifier, use it along with a low-speed fan to circulate air, especially if you live in a humid climate. The quicker the drying process, the better.

    * Most commonly air-dried flowers are best hung upside down in bunches. Make the bunches no thicker than 1-1/2 inches at the stems, and secure them with a tight rubber band.

    * Hang the bunches wherever you can. You can make a drying pole by using two high-backed chairs to support a horizontal dowel. Use bent paper clips to attach the flower bunches, hanging them far enough apart to allow good air circulation.

    * The drying process takes from 10 to 20 days, depending on the plant.

    When dried, the stems should snap. Test the flowers for dryness by dissecting one to make sure the flower's insides are thoroughly dry.

    * Some flowers such as delphiniums keep their color better if they are dried quickly near sources of warm air such as a heater. Large, many-

    flowered blooms, such as dill, fluffy grasses, hydrangea, and Queen Anne's lace, should be dried upright, not hanging upside down.
    Ideals are like stars;
    you will not succeed in touching them with your hands,
    but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters,
    you choose them as your guides,
    and following them you reach your destiny.
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