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How to dry and preserve flowers from your garden


Dried rose by Aaron Schwab
Drying and preserving flowers from your garden is a simple, pleasant and worthwhile task. While the drought in our wonderful but dry Los Angeles County may have cut down on what could be grown, it is a great idea to preserve what little was produced. Use dried flowers the same way as fresh ones, in homemade paper or in wedding bouquets.

A simple technique that works well, especially with roses is to cut them leaving as much stem and leaves as possible; arrange in a bunch and loop with a rubber band to hold bunch together; hang them upside down in a place that is free of moisture and let them dry. This straightforward method preserves the flowers as long as ten years or more and they are beautiful in a glass vase. Occasionally, a petal or two falls off.

Where you choose to hang the drying flowers can enhance a room’s décor. In the kitchen, hanging from curtain rods says “welcome” and shows off a fine, garden harvest. Hanging from drapery rods in the living room or den gives a Victorian parlor or Goth atmosphere. For a truly Goth look, light spray dried roses with aerosol black paint. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA02/rodriguez/GildedAge/parlor%20dead%20flowers%20-%20zingman.jpg or http://www.wholesalefloral.com/Floral_Spray_Paint_s/44.htm?Click=2&gclid=CPShgrLyhZ0CFRgbawodazmtag.

The microwave method requires a cup of water, silica gel and, of course, a microwave oven. It takes just under three minutes and is an easy process. Follow directions from http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/flowerart/driedflowers/how-to-dry-flowers.

Using glycerin preserves the flexibility in flowers like baby’s breath. Once mixed, the ability to use the glycerin and water more than once makes it a very inexpensive product. The easy to follow directions are here, http://stlweddings.net/wedding-flowers/flower-preservation.html.

A food dehydrator is great for making potpourri. Pick the petals and leaves from the flowers and place on dehydrator racks as you would slices of vegetables or other foods. After drying, sprinkle with a favorite essential oil. Potpourri makes wonderful sachets, little pillows that are useful in linen closets, drawers or dishes set on tables and counters.

Use dried petals as confetti to be a green gardener just as you would use other options. However, please know that hrowing rice is just as green and it is a myth that birds explode when they eat it, http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/r/riceatweddings.htm, but flower petals are prettier.

Kitty litter is easy and requires only flowers, kitty litter and a container. Residue may be a tiny problem but this article at http://www.ehow.com/how_2312452_dry-flowers-cat-litter.html says to use a static duster to remove it.

Enjoy your harvest for years to come.
 

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