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Seasonal Tip

Drying Fresh Flowers
July 23, 2009

Now that we are approaching August, it is time to give thought to preserving the beauty of your flowers and the bounty of your herb garden for enjoyment through the upcoming fall and winter. "How can we do this?" you may ask. The answer is drying.

There are many different ways to dry your herbs and flowers but the easiest and least expensive way is through air-drying. It may seem like a slow process but it will give you great results. The plant material to be dried is collected, tied, and hung upside down in a warm, dark, dry place with good air circulation. The darkness helps preserve the flower color and does not deplete the herbs of their oils. If you have the space or are trying to preserve larger sized blooms, you can also elevate wire racks or screens on blocks and place your plants on top until they have dried. Attics, garages, and potting sheds are ideal locations for drying plant material.

When drying fresh flowers, pick late in the morning when plants are dry but not wilted from heat and sun. Select flowers at different stages of development, from buds to fully open blossoms. Flowers will open further as they dry.

Most plants dry best when tied in bunches and hung upside down. Make sure the plants are dry. Tie 6 to 10 stems together - about two inches from the stem ends, or use a rubber band to fasten them together. Your plants are thoroughly dry when the stems snap easily. This can take up to three weeks.

To strengthen your dried flowers, spray them with clear lacquer, hair spray, or clear craft spray.

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