Preserving Flowers

Preserving Flowers As evidenced by the discovery of preserved flowers in ancient Egyptian tombs, people have for centuries engaged in the art of preserving flowers. Today, a large variety of annuals, biennials and perennials are successfully preserved. Because properly dried flowers can persist for years after harvesting, they are often referred to as everlastings or immortelles. To ascertain the optimum growing conditions and harvesting time for a particular species, one should not rely solely on books or articles. Experienced growers will frequently be the best sources of information. In general, flowering plants require ample sunlight, good drainage and a growing season with a minimum of 80 days. Harvesting flowers at the appropriate time is critical.

Flowers which are without blemishes, insects or diseases should be picked on mornings of low humidity after the dew has evaporated from the petals. Several techniques can be utilized to remove moisture from the collected flowers. The simplest method is to tie a rubber band around a bunch of flowers after their leaves have been removed, and to hang them upside down out of direct sunlight in a dry, well-ventilated attic, closet or garage. Ideally, the drying area should have a temperature between 60 and 80 F and a humidity rate less than 60%. Another method is to place the flowers in a container and to cover them with clean, fine sand, or a mixture of borax and cornmeal, or a nonchlorophyll kitty litter.

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These inexpensive substances provide the flowers with support, enabling them to maintain their shape while they dry naturally. A more costly method is to use an airtight container and to cover the flowers with silica gel, a desiccant, which not only provides support to the flowers but also removes moisture from them. Overall, the more rapidly flowers dry, the less likely they are to become moldy and the more vivid their colors remain. The drying process can be further accelerated by placing the container in a microwave oven or by applying heat. Depending on the method chosen and the particular plant material being preserved, drying time may take between one and four weeks.

The uses of preserved flowers are limited only by one’s imagination. They are popular in floral arrangements, wreaths, bouquets, potpourri and corsages. (NOTE: Call numbers are given for items owned by NAL.) BASIC FLOWER DRYING JOURNAL ARTICLES —————- Alden, Janice. 1979. “They are beautiful dried, too.” AFRICAN VIOLET MAGAZINE. 32(4, pt.

1): 16-17. NAL Call No.: 80.AF8 Bennett, Jennifer. 1985. “The dried flowers of Hedgehog Hill.” HORTICULTURE. 63(8): 44-47, 49-51. NAL Call No.: 80.H787 Emerson, William J.

1979. “Drying flowers in a microware oven.” THE PRAIRIE GARDEN. 36: 96-97. NAL Call No.: 80.W73 Loebel, JoAnn Schowalter. 1987.

“Flowers for drying: everlasting perennials.” AMERICAN HORTICULTURIST. 66(10): 10-13. NAL Call No.: 80.N216 Nau, Jim. 1989. “A flower grower’s bibliography: basic references.” GATHERINGS: THE CUT FLOWER QUARTERLY.

1(1):2-3. O’Neil, Sunny. 1988. “An exciting new way to dry flowers.” FLOWERLETTER. 5(3): 1-2. “Onions that produce flowers, beautiful to bizarre, fresh or dried.” 1987.

SUNSET (CENTRAL WEST EDITION). 179(5): 233. NAL Call No.: 110.SU7 Petersons, Hedviga V. 1981. “Drying and preserving flowers.” FACTSHEET. ONTARIO MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD.

No. 81-016. NAL Call No.: S155.A105 Proulx, E. A. 1984.

“Dried and true.” HORTICULTURE. 62(8): 24-28, 30. NAL Call No.: 80.H787 Reilly, Ann. 1984. “Plan/plant now for your dried flowers.” FLOWER AND GARDEN. 28(2): 26-28.

NAL Call No.: SB403.F5 Russell, A. Brooke. 1987. “How-to hints for July gardeners: dried florals capture summer’s glory.” AMERICAN HORTICULTURIST. 66(7): 8, 10-11. NAL Call No.: 80.N216 Sheffield, Richard R.

1980. “Plant everlastings for year-round enjoyment.” ORGANIC GARDENING. 27(1): 186-188. NAL Call No.: 57.8.OR32 Swan, Joyce. 1988. “Everlastings: flowers that keep on giving.” FLOWER AND GARDEN. 32(3): 38-39.

NAL Call No.: SB403.F5 BOOKS —– COMMERCIAL FIELD PRODUCTION OF CUT AND DRIED FLOWERS: A NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM. Sponsored by The Center for Alternative Crops and Products, University of Minnesota and The American Society of Horticultural Science, December 6-8, 1988. [Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota?, 1988?]. NAL Call No.: SB442.85.C6 Conder, Susan. DRIED FLOWERS: DRYING AND ARRANGING. Boston: David R. Godine, 1988.

(ISBN 0-87923-719-8). Condon, Geneal. THE COMPLETE BOOK OF FLOWER PRESERVATION. Boulder, CO: Pruett, 1982. (ISBN 0-87108-618-2). [Out of Print] Embertson, Jane. PODS: WILDFLOWERS AND WEEDS IN THEIR FINAL BEAUTY; GREAT LAKES REGION, NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES AND ADJACENT CANADA AND AREAS WHERE FROST AND FREEZE ARE COMMON.

New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1979. (ISBN 0-684-155442-7). NAL Call No.: QK660.E53 Floyd, Harriet. PLANT IT NOW, DRY IT LATER. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973. (ISBN 0-07-021387-9).

NAL Call No.: SB449.3.D7F5 [Out of Print] Foster, Maureen. PRESERVED FLOWERS: PRACTICAL METHODS AND CREATIVE USES. London: Pelham Books, 1973. (ISBN 0-72070-536-3). NAL Call No.: SB447.F67.

[Out of Print] Hillier, Malcolm. THE BOOK OF DRIED FLOWERS: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO GROWING, DRYING AND ARRANGING. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986. (ISBN 0-671-61939-X). Godwin, Buck Godwin.

ALBERTA SUPERNATURALS. Olds, Alberta: Olds College Bookstore, 1987. Joosten, Titia. FLOWER DRYING WITH A MICROWARE: TECHNIQUES AND PROJECTS. Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 1988. (ISBN 0-937274-48-8).

NAL Call No.: SB447.J6613 1988 Karel, Leonard. DRIED FLOWERS FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE PRESENT: A HISTORY AND PRACTICAL GUIDE TO FLOWER DRYING. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1973. (ISBN 0-8108-0512-X). NAL Call No.: SB447.K29 Lindgren, Linda Lee.

DECORATIONS FROM NATURE: GROWING, PRESERVING & ARRANGING NATURALS. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Company, 1986. (ISBN 0-8019-7696-0). NAL Call No.: TT157.L5 Mann, Pauline. FLOWERS THAT LAST: ARRANGING DRIED AND PRESERVED PLANTS & FLOWERS. London: B.T.

Batsford, 1984. (ISBN 0-7134-3842-8). NAL Call No.: SB449.3.D7M3 Maurice, Grizelda. A FLOWER ARRANGER’S GARDEN. London: B.T.

Batsford, 1988. (ISBN 0-7134-5373-7). NAL Call No.: SB449.M358 Mierhof, Annette. THE DRIED FLOWER BOOK: GROWING, PICKING, DRYING, ARRANGING. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1981.

(ISBN 0-525-09573-X; 0-525-47700-4; 0-525-48239-3). NAL Call No.: SB447.M5313 1981 Ohrbach, Barbara Milo. THE SCENTED ROOM: CHERCHEZ’S BOOK OF DRIED FLOWERS, FRAGRANCE, AND POTPOURRI. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1986.

(ISBN 0-517-56081-X). NAL Call No.: TT899.4.O47 1986 Olson, Beverly and Judy Lazzara. COUNTRY FLOWER DRYING. New York: Sterling Publishing, 1988. (ISBN 0-8069-6746-3). Penzner, Diana with Mary Forsell.

EVERLASTING DESIGN: MORE IDEAS AND TECHNIQUES FOR DRIED FLOWERS. New York: Facts on File, 1987. (ISBN 0-8160-1415-9). Petelin, Carol. THE CREATIVE GUIDE TO DRIED FLOWERS. New York: Viking, 1989.

(ISBN 0-86350-193-1). Rogers, Barbara Radcliffe. THE ENCYLOPAEDIA OF EVERLASTINGS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO GROWING, PRESERVING, AND ARRANGING DRIED FLOWERS. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988. (ISBN 1-55584-133-3). NAL Call No.: SB449.3.D7R63 1988 Silber, Mark.

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF EVERLASTINGS: GROWING, DRYING, AND DESIGNING WITH DRIED FLOWERS. New York: Knopf, 1988. (ISBN 0-394-54677-6). Thorpe, Patricia. EVERLASTINGS: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF DRIED FLOWERS.

New York: Facts On File, Inc., 1985. (ISBN 0-8160-1110-9). NAL Call No.: SB449.3.D7T48 Whitlock, Sarah and Martha Rankin. DRIED FLOWERS: HOW TO PREPARE THEM. New York: Dover Publication, 1975. (ISBN 0-486-21802-3). NAL Call No …

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