Enjoy your English garden year-round by drying flowers from your garden. You can create lovely flower arrangements or make sachets to give as gifts.
Here’s how to dry flowers. It’s really very easy:
1. Most flowers should be cut just as they’re starting to open. They will continue opening, even after cutting, so if you wait too long the flower petals will start to fall off before they dry. Rose buds, before they’ve even started opening, also dry nicely.
2. Cut flowers in late morning after the dew has dried. Dampness in the flowers will cause them to get moldy.
3. Strip most of the lower leaves off the stems by gently pulling downward. If the leaves don’t come off easily, you may have to cut them off.
4. Tie small bunches of flowers together with a narrow rubber band. Don’t use string – as the stems dry they will contract and fall out of the string.
5. Hang bunches of flowers in a cool, dry area, away from the sun. The garage or basement may be too damp, unless you use a dehumidifier. The attic or an unused closet or room would be better, especially if you can close the curtains or pull the blinds to reduce sunlight. Sun will make the flower color fade.
6. Hang the flowers from a drying rack or improvise one by placing a broomstick, piece of bamboo, or a long garden stake across the back of two chairs.
7. Most flowers will be dry enough to use within two weeks.
Which flowers are best for drying
You want flowers that hold their shape and color after drying. Lavender, of course, is the classic English dried flower. But you can also dry:
Baby’s breath (gypsophila)
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)
Yarrow, especially the gold ones
What to do with your dried flowers
In addition to dried flower arrangements, here are some other things to do with your dried flowers:
Make fragrant sachets. Lavender works beautifully for this. Once the lavender has dried, crumble the dried leaves and flowers off of their stems and stuff into a sachet. Tie with a pretty ribbon. Rose petals also make lovely scented sachets.
I also make bundles of lavender still on their stems, by tying a ribbon around the stems and then lay the bundles on windowsills in my home. Then, as the sun hits the window, the warmth releases the scent.
Make bundles of a variety of flowers and lay them on top of a framed picture hanging on the wall.
Tuck small bunches of dried flowers into the ribbon while wrapping gifts for a lovely, personal touch.