June 21, 2009

Drying Things

What can be dried? I'm not talking about laundry or any other household 'chore'. I'm talking about "pretties" like your flower garden successes or woodlands discoveries.

My very favorite flower to dry.. For me it has  to be hydrangeas. Of course the oak leaf hydrangea takes care of itself. Don't worry about drying it. It's the mop head, the endless summer and others I'm referring to.
When there are several options for drying a specific bloom I choose the easiest every time.

The easiest for these Hydrangea blooms is air drying in small bundles upside down. The trick is knowing when to harvest them. When I asked friends they all had a different answer. when I read articles or books it was hard to interpret the instructions. Basically you pretty much have to figure it out for yourself.

 My advice goes like this: Don't get in a hurry. You cut too soon they are a total loss-they shrivel up. When I reach out with slightly cupped palm to touch the large bloom and the feel I get could almost be described as a slight stiffness as opposed to the touch of  tender vegetation. You can almost [not really] sense a slight paper rattle.  They are now ready to harvest.

 I gather a nice handful, strip many of the lower leaves off, bind the [usually] long stems with either wire, string or rubberbands and hang them on a wire or against the wall indoors or perhaps a covered space like a porch or patio.
Let them be.  When they are finished there is no doubt . If you especially appreciate the various colors..the easiest way to get this is to spray with two or three shades of color..a floral spray/aerosol.  Experiment with distance and mixing the various colors..you'll figure it out.

When you become super comfortable with choosing when to cut for drying you will be able to cut, place in water and  let them dry in the container as you enjoy them.
When I am trying to make a new convert to dried flowers I usually  tell them It's just another kind of beauty and with the dried blooms you can enjoy the same beauties often year round....first the fresh cut and later as they are perfectly dried.


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