As the lazy, hazy days of summer come to an end (welcome back to school, kids!), it signals only one thing at my house: the beginning of flower drying season. For many years now, I have passionately harvested and dried flowers from my backyard (and anyone else’s who will share them with me). Dried flowers have so many uses. My closest friends and family know the biggest use for dried flowers are my fall pumpkin arrangements, but those don’t go into production until October 1. If I wait till then to dry my flowers, I would never have enough to complete the task.Therefore, I don’t waste a moment, NOW is the time to look around the yard and begin cutting and drying.
So just how does one go about drying flowers? It’s easy and YOU can get started today if you have a little time on your hands. Many flowers dry well, but my favorites are: hydrangea, sunflower, cockscomb, purple thistle and gomphrena. I’ll talk more about flower types in another post, so stay tuned.
To get started, get a bucket full of water, sharp garden snips, several clothes hangers, rubber bands and bread ties.Then follow these easy steps to have a harvest of beautiful dried bunchflowers for later use:
1. Snip the flowers you want at an angle. The best time of day to cut them is early in the morning when they have the maximum moisture in the stem and flower. Once cut, I remove all leaves–I don’t want dried leaves, I want to maximize my drying on flowers.
2. Dunk the freshly cut flowers in a bucket of water–plunge up and down a few times. This rids the flowers of small spiders and bugs. Shake the water out as best possible (I swing mine like a pendulum a few times).
3. Cut long stems down to no longer than 12″. Pull these flowers together in a bundle, making sure the air can circulate around the flowers. Then put a rubber band around the stems, making sure it is tight.
4. Once banded, tie up. I slide a bread tie (from your local grocer for tying up produce bags) into the rubber band and fold it over.
5. Finally, hang the flowers. Twist the bread tie (with flowers dangling) on a coat hanger and balance the weight of the flowers on each end. I usually dry three bunches of flowers to every coat hanger. I then hang the flowers in a dark closet–the warmer, the better. Since I live in a two story house, an upstairs closet (or one in the garage) are perfect. Wait at least a week and voila, you have your first batch of dried flowers!