Preserving Summer’s Beauty

by | Jun 13, 2019 | Bay Laurel, Crafts, Decoration, Harvesting, Lavender, Rosemary, Roses, Sage, Seasons, Summer | 0 comments

Who can resist the lure of a summer garden in bloom? The riot of color, texture, and scent captivate our senses, helping us to shrug off the day’s worries. Pausing to admire a bed of marigolds or sniff a climbing rose is good for body and soul.

With the coming of fall blossoms subside, tree leaves fall, and annuals complete their life cycle as nature prepares for winter. But wait – it doesn’t have to disappear completely. You can start today to preserve the beauty of summer by drying flowers, leaves, and stems to decorate your home.

Before You Start Drying

Beautiful dried bouquets, wreaths, and swags start with plant material in the best condition. Select flowers and stems that are at the peak of their freshness. Always gather more that you think you will need. Some plant material shrinks by as much as a third when dried. Others may break apart or shatter easily. It’s annoying to get near the end of a decorating project and be short of one or two dried blossoms.

Traditional Air Drying

The simplest method for drying flowers while on the stalk is to hang them upside down to dry. A little patience is all that’s required. Gravity helps to hold the petals and leaves in a more or less natural position. This method is best for sturdy flowers and stems that don’t have a high moisture content. 

Use rubber bands to secure the stems together. As they dry, the rubber band will shrink, keeping them from falling. When tying stalks together don’t make the bunches very large. A large bundle will tend to stay moist in the center and may start to rot.

Don’t have a bar or frame to hang your herbs? Create clusters of herbs or flowers, run a length of string through the bunch, and hang it on a clothes hanger that you can put almost anywhere.

Hang your botanicals in an undisturbed spot where the temperatures will be warm. For most of us, this will be a garage, attic, or shed but you may have other options. 

One crafter I know used a spare half-bath in her house for this. An electric space heater provided warm temperatures. She would turn on the ceiling fan to draw moist air out of the room. The result was a walk-in dehydrator.

Air drying is probably the best way to preserve most ornamental grasses or grass-like plants. Try it with fountain grass, eulalia grass, inland sea oats, hare’s tail, quaking grass, or spike grass. Remember some of these shed seeds very easily.  A friend of mine once brought fresh-cut pampas grass into her home and was vacuuming up seeds for weeks afterward.

Drying herbs by hanging them in the keeping room ( aka walk-in storage) has been used for a very long time.

Suggestions for Dried Materials

  • Plants like yarrow, tansy, or lavender with strong stems and flowers that remain on the stem work well.
  • Shrubs and trees with flexible stems can be twisted or woven into a wreath or swag shape before drying. Rosemary, sage, artemisias, and bay laurel are good examples.
  • Ornamental grasses dry nicely but the stems are sometimes too slippery to hang. Then it’s best to lay them on a screen or absorbent towel.
  • Seedheads of dill, coriander, or garlic chives can often be allowed to dry naturally outside on the plant.
  • And of course flowering herbs like calendula, bee balm, and roses.

Imagine having baskets of dried botanicals to use for decoration around the home this fall.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Top 10 Posts

Get Your Garden Tools Ready for Spring

Get Your Garden Tools Ready for Spring

Many of us are still dealing with frigid weather. Spring can seem a long way off but a month from now things will be different. But before the weather warms you can get ahead of the game and get your garden tools ready for the season.

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

The majority of my at-home dinners are from scratch – or nearly so. But we all have those days when ToDo list overwhelms the time available and you have to punt. That’s when a rotisserie chicken can save the day.

Is It Spring Yet?

Is It Spring Yet?

As I write this post, my Fort Worth home has an inch of snow on the ground from a storm that passed through two days ago. Texans are feeling downright edgy being cooped up from all that white stuff that has no business this far south.  But slowly the days will warm and  we will be on our way to the first signs of spring. Get ready with these gardening tips.

New Ideas For Your 2022 Garden

New Ideas For Your 2022 Garden

Happy New Year! Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, may the coming year bring you many joyful moments. Of course I hope some of those happy times take place in and around gardens. To help you make this come true I’ve collected a few ideas to get you out of your comfort zone and into something new.

Caring For a Rosemary Holiday Bush

Caring For a Rosemary Holiday Bush

Beautiful though they are, most rosemary holiday bushes often don’t last beyond the holiday season. Rosemary is an outdoor shrub, not an indoor tropical houseplant. The techniques homeowners use to successfully grow philodendrons and ferns indoors will kill rosemary. Here’s what to do.

Bogus Gardening Advice, Part II

Bogus Gardening Advice, Part II

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is my second helping of bogus garden hacks from an article I found online. The offending article was on one of those sites that claim to give the reader the “real facts” hitherto hidden from the average reader.

Bogus Gardening Advice, Part I

Bogus Gardening Advice, Part I

My beloved husband is always on the lookout for garden articles on the Internet that I might find interesting. Most of his discoveries are worthwhile. Recently however he forwarded a link to a page that had my blood boiling within minutes.

Making a Rosemary Garland

Making a Rosemary Garland

With the cooling fall weather, herb gardeners are busy harvesting and prepping the garden for winter. This includes some trimming of the shrubs that may have exceeded their allotted space.

Cinnamon Pecan Scones

Cinnamon Pecan Scones

Here in Texas the pecan tree is a native so nearly everyone has a source nearby for pecans. I the spirit of the Lone Star State here are some classic scones with cinnamon and pecan to add a flavor kick.

Adding Herbs to Tea

Adding Herbs to Tea

There’s nothing quite as annoying to a confirmed tea lover as living in a Coffee Nation. Coffee is the default drink everywhere you go. This is never more obvious than when attending a banquet.

About Ann McCormick

I Believe

Books I Like