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Vermont Garden Journal: Flowering For Drying

AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

Friday, September 6, 2013 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, September 8, 2013 at 9:35 a.m. I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. I can't believe it. I know it's only early September, but I've already noticed a chill in the air at night. The shortening days and cooler nights means flowers will be shutting down their growth soon. I hate to see my beautiful flowers succumb to frost, so while there still are some beauties in the garden, it's time to select flowers for drying and bringing indoors.

Some flowers practically dry themselves on the plant. Strawflowers, teasel, and some hydrangeas can be left until dry, cut and brought indoors without any other work involved. These are my kind of flowers. Others will need a little fussing, and as with so many things in life, timing, is key to creating a better dried flower.

The simplest method is to air dry your flowers. Yarrow, glove thistle, celosia and goldenrod are some of the easiest flowers to dry this way. Select flowers that aren't fully opened yet. Cut stems in the morning after the dew has dried off the blooms. Remove the leaves and cut the stems long so you'll have different flower arranging options with your cut beauties. Bunch similar flowers together, tie them with a rubber band, and hang the stems to dry upside down in a well-ventilated, warm room. Place them out of direct sunlight because the sun can cause the flower colors to fade. After 1 to 3 weeks the flowers should be dry enough to use.

For harder to dry flowers, such as roses, zinnias, and small sunflowers, consider using silica gel and a microwave. Place the silica crystals in the bottom third of a microwavable, glass tray, add the flower stem without leaves and fill the tray with silica gel. Microwave for a few minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes and you've dried your flower.

And now for this week's tip, dig up and pot parsley plants from the garden now so they used to the container before bringing them indoors for winter.

Next week on The Vermont Garden Journal I'll be talking about unusual bulbs for spring. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Drying Flowers with a Microwave and Silica Gel
Drying Flowers

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