Preserving Dried Flowers and Plants

Making a herbarium
Dried flowers make wonderful decorations that will last a long time and can be placed around the house in attractive arrangements in bowls and vases. Summer is an ideal time to harvest the flowers for drying because most gardens are at their best. The basic method of preserving flowers are air drying, burying and pressing the flowers in a drying materials. The method used depends on the flowers being dried but with all the methods there are a few simple rules you must follow other wise you might be disappointed with the result.

Blotting Paper
Blotting paper is one way of drying . Although the initial outlay for a supply is more than that of paper. The blotting paper can be re-used time and again, if it is handled care and dried out thoroughly, after each pressing.

Technique
If you want to preserve the plants and flowers which you collect .Before pressing the plant and flowers make sure that there are no insects in them. Remove any foreign matters you find .Once the insects are pressed it becomes difficult to remove them with out damaging the flower petals. Unless the stalk is a thin one, it is best to snip off the flowers and press it separately. Place one more blotting paper on top of them. Place about ten or more old news paper folded on top. Keep the blotting paper on a flat piece of wood put news paper folded on top. Put this press in a dry very ventilated spot and check every three or four days, if the papers are little damp replace them with new ones. Take particular care with flowers you will find them generally to loosecolour as they dry. But you can improve this by ironing them, place the flower between two sheets of blotting paper and go over it with a warm iron (medium setting) when flowers and plants are completely dry after one or two weeks stick them on to a sheet of thick paper withfevicol.

Air Drying
This is the simplest method. Tie the stems together with a sturdy string or rubber band. Hang the flower upside down in a dry, dark airy room, such as an attic. The flowers will be dried in two to three weeks when the petals will feel crisps and the stems are brittle. Use this method for plants with head of tiny flowers. Most grass, grains, shrubs, branches and thick stems may be dried upright in an empty jar.
Burying in a dry material. Fragile flowers and those with large, soft petals, should not be air dried because the petals shrink and destroy the flowers shape. Such flower’s should be buried in a drying material that absorbs moisture but allows them to retain their shape. Prepare the appropriate mixture before you pick the flowers so that you can begin preserving them while they are still fresh.

Sand
Use fine sieved sand, clean and dry (heat the sand for sometime and let it cool it before filling the tin or box). Put a thin layer of sand in uncovered tin or box. Cut off most of the stems, leaving about three inches. Place the flowers face down on the sand tin or box, spacing them so their petals don’t touch each other and add more of sand on top until the flowers are covered. Place the box in a dark, dry location until the flowers feel crisp. Drying time is from one to four weeks. This method retain natural colour well.

Borax and Cornmeal
Recommended a 1:1 mix of these two ingredients, put a thin layer of the Mixture in a uncovered box. Cut Off most of the stems leaving about three inches. Place the flowers face up in box, spacing them so their petals do not touch each other and more of the mixture until the flowers are covered. Place the box in a dry location until the flowers feel crisp.

Silica Gel
This is a ready-made, very absorbent, fine-grained chemical. It works faster and is less dusty than the first two materials, but it is more expensive and it dries flowers so quickly, you must be careful to avoid over drying. Use the same procedure described for the other twodesicants, but place the flowers upright in the box or tin. The flowers will dry in two days to a week. Check after a few days and if more drying time is needed reseal box or tin lightly.

Glycerine Method
Glycerine is excellent for preserving magnolia leaves, all kind of eucalyptus leaves etc. Cut foliage while crisp and fresh, crush about two inches of the stem ends with a hammer for easy absorption, then stand branches in a solution of equal parts of glycerine and water for about two weeks.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.