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Suggested flowers
For air drying
•Baby’s breath
•Bells of Ireland
•Cattail
•Chrysanthemum
•Coral bells
•Daisy
•Goldenrod
•Heather
•Hydrangea
•Larkspur
•Lavender
•Pussy willow
•Rhodanthe
•Roses
•Starflower
•Statice
•Winged everlasting
•Yarrow For drying with silica gel
•Azalea
•Black-eyed Susan
•Blue sage
•Daffodil
•Dahlia
•Dogwood
•Hyacinth
•Lilac
•Lily-of-the-valley
•Marigold
•Orchid
•Pansy
•Peony
•Primrose
•Rose
•Snapdragon
iStock
Saving summer

Beauty hangs around

Drying blooms offers reminder of warmer seasons

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Sandy Hackbarth, of Broadview Florists & Greenhouse, arranges hydrangea and sedum blooms for drying.

Eventually this will all be gone: the multicolored leaves, the lush greenery, the warm autumn breeze, the month of October. And so you’d like to preserve some of the late summer and early fall of 2013; to cling to it as long as possible before the blizzard of 2014 comes blowing beneath your door.

But how do you go about that? Seasonal pumpkins used as table centerpieces eventually grow soft and rot. The multi-colored corn cobs with their tufts of husks quickly become tiresome.

Even the small bowl of candy corn – those small, triangle-shaped brown and orange rockets of pure sugar – is passed over.

By now you miss the marigolds, hope to recover your roses and long for your larkspur.

“Some are real easy to preserve, like baby’s breath and statice,” says Sandy Hackbarth of Broadview Florist and Greenhouses, 5409 Winchester Road. “Those are a couple you simply put them in a little bunch and you hang them upside down.”

Here are some tips to hang onto your summer flowers as long as possible:

Air dry

If it’s too late this season, it’s something to remember next year. Cut the flowers just before they fully open. For the plants with long stems, remove the lower leaves. Group the flowers in a small bunch, then fan them out. Use a string or piece of wire to hang them upside down in a cool, dry place.

This may take two to three weeks before all the flowers are completely dry.

Microwave

Yep, that’s correct. First remove the popcorn.

This method takes a little more work. As in the air dry method, cut the flowers before they completely bloom. But instead of leaving stems long, cut them closer to the flower itself. Using a microwave-safe container, place a 1-inch layer of silica gel (it’s not really a gel) and lay a blossom facedown on the granules.

Gently add more silica gel to cover the flower, and repeat the process until the container is full of flowers and gel. Place a thermometer inside the container, and when it reaches 160 degrees (make sure you can read the thermometer from outside the oven), the flowers should be dried. Let them sit an extra 24 hours.

Hairspray

So you’ve just dried your daisies and can’t do a thing with them? Coat them with hairspray. “That keeps them from flaking off and making a big mess,” Hackbarth says.

Borax

This works like the silica gel but use it carefully. Combine equal parts Borax and white cornmeal, then add three tablespoons of uniodized salt to each quart of mixture. Place blooms in a small box or shoe box and cover with mixture. Be sure to wait two or three weeks before removing the flowers.

Using only Borax, which can be found in the laundry aisle, could cause bleaching.

stwarden@jg.net

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