Chicago gardeners, preserving memories of your 2013 Chicago garden can be achieved in a variety of ways. You can photograph your flowers and vegetables. Like Claude Monet, you can paint your lush garden. You can pen poems and stories about your tranquil oasis. You can also preserve specimens of your beautiful flowers by drying them.
The ancient art of drying flowers preserves them at the peak of their beauty. Choose a perfect rose and remove the thorns. Select a vibrant zinnia. Cut them whenever you think they’re most beautiful.
Tie these beauties together with twist ties or rubber bands. Add a thin satin ribbon and fashion a bow. Hang them upside down in a dark corner or a dark room while they dry. Another easy method to use, if your flowers have sturdy stems, is to leave them in a water-filled vase until they dry.
If you’re an amateur scientist and like to experiment, you can test a variety of drying agents to help in your quest for preservation. You can induce your cut blossoms to draw in liquids like antifreeze and sugar alcohol (glycerol). You can layer your blossoms and greenery in a deep oblong pan containing sawdust, laundry powder, talcum powder, cornstarch, silica gel, cornmeal, borax or kitty litter, and then sprinkle more of the medium over them and wait until they dry. You can also try combinations of these mediums.
Your microwave works well with tiny blossoms buried in a microwave-safe bowl of kitty litter or a 50/50 mix of cornmeal and borax and dried for two or three minutes. Wait until the bowl cools before removing the blossoms. A conventional oven set at 100° also works well but takes about a day.
Live long and well—garden.
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