Want to do something different with your decorations this Christmas? Dried flowers make beautiful ornaments, and once you’ve learnt the art of drying flowers, your garden is a storehouse of treasures, ready for your creative ideas.
Selecting and picking flowers for drying
When picking flowers for drying, choose blooms that are not quite mature, so that they will last longer. Pick flowers in the morning, as soon as the dew has dried on them. If there’s nothing flowering in your garden at the moment, buy cut flowers and experiment with them. Once you’ve got the technique, you’ll be able to dry flowers from your own garden next summer.
How to air-dry flowers
Air-drying is a very simple technique. It works well for complex flowers like roses, and for small, long-lasting blooms like lavender. Cut flowers with stems at least 15cm (6in) long. Remove the leaves, tie a length of string to each stem and hang the flowers upside down in a dry, well-ventilated dark place for two to three weeks, until the flowers are dry and papery. Spray lightly with hairspray and store carefully.
How to dry flowers with silica gel
Silica gel looks like very fine sand and is available from craft shops. It dries flowers by drawing moisture out of the petals and works well on flowers like roses, tulips and chrysanthemums.
Pour a layer of gel into a bowl, place a flower on top of the gel and gently pour more gel over it until the flower is completely covered. Leave for several days, until the flower is dry and papery. Remove the flower, carefully brush off the gel, mist the flower with hairspray and store.
How to dry flowers by pressing
The simplest way to press flowers is between the pages of a book. Place a flower between two absorbent pieces of paper (old-fashioned blotting paper works well), put these between the pages of a book, close the book and weigh it down by placing a couple of other heavy books on top of it. Change the blotting paper every few days. Pressed flowers usually take 2-3 weeks to dry fully.
Making decorations with dried flowers
Dried flowers make beautiful Christmas decorations, reminding us that spring isn’t far away. Here are a few ideas on how to use dried flowers as decorations:
- Fill clear plastic baubles with dried flowers to make beautiful Christmas tree decorations. Use rose petals as ‘filler’ for the centre of the bauble, with flatter flowers like daisies towards the outside.
- Fill vases with dried flower arrangements to remind you of summer.
- Lay a mini-bouquet of dried flowers at each place around your Christmas dinner table.
- Use dried flowers to add colour to seasonal wreaths.
Whatever your decorating style, you’ll find plenty to inspire you in our centre, so pay us a visit and make your home amazing this Christmas.