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Drying flowers is an art that embodies a remarkable capacity, attention and patience during the process, nevertheless it is essential to have a strong aesthetic sense to then realize with the dried flowers compositions pleasant to see.
Dried flowers possess a great charm and a great advantage: if the drying is done in a workmanlike manner they will last a very long time and therefore can be used to create beautiful decorations. With this technique it is also possible to preserve one's memories with something tangible, perhaps to preserve a flower picked during a walk that has had a particular importance, thus making the memory indelible. Or you can decide to dry the wedding bouquet, a detail that is of considerable importance in a day that should be unique in a person's life.
But now let's find out all the details you need to know to do this.
The flower harvest: how and when
If you plan to harvest some flowers not grown in your garden, but when you are in a holiday resort you will first have to inform yourself if there is any protected flower species that you must avoid to seize, if you have any doubts you can ask at an office tourist or a forestry office in the area.
In any case, when you pick a flower to dry, you must always respect the plant that produces the flower, taking it as if you were pruning it methodically: pruning must help the plant to develop better, therefore do not cut from the same plant and proceed by cutting the stem , with a sharp and disinfected blade, leaving a few centimeters of stem from the branch on the branch.
Carry out the harvest on hot days and with low humidity, in the central hours of the day that guarantee the absence of humidity and dew which make the drying process slower and increase the risk of the flower ruining. Collect a few specimens of flowers to dry and begin the drying process in the shortest possible time, also choose flowers (but also leaves, they are splendid in the compositions) in perfect condition, without signs, mold and parts ruined by any kind of external agent. The flowers must be almost ripe but not completely in such a way as to preserve their shape during the drying process, even the leaves must be ripe but not too much (otherwise they will come off the branch) and not too young (otherwise they will curl up during drying ).
The traditional drying method
To dry the flowers a room must also be available, even small, dry, ventilated and to be kept in the dark so that the flowers can be hung from the stem leaving the corollas dangling.
Before hanging the varieties of flowers with a supported stem, it is necessary to eliminate leaves and any thorns, divide the flowers into small groups so that the corollas are at different heights so as not to leave all the corollas, which are more wet, nearby otherwise they will take too long to dry and risk rotting instead of drying.
The individual bunches must be tied with an elastic band that will follow the change in volume during the drying process, then they will be hung as high as possible, where the air is warmer and favors drying.
The flowers will dry up becoming darker, while if they are exposed to light they will lighten.
The flowers can also be dried by pressing them, a method that is however only suitable for small and not very consistent flowers, such as poppies, primroses, violets, ferns and acacias, in addition to leaves in general. With this method the flower is inserted between sheets of absorbent paper or sheets of newspaper, leaves and flowers are stretched well, arranging them in the shape that one wants to obtain and everything is inserted in a press. You can build a press using two smooth wood panels, such as plywood, which will be made to adhere thanks to the insertion of screws and bolts all along one side, which will then tighten the press once the flowers are inserted. Alternatively you can use two volumes with a hard and smooth cover and insert the flowers between them, as long as the two volumes are quite heavy.
With this mode the drying is quite rapid, the flowers are completely dry when touching them does not perceive the sensation of cold typical of plants still sprayed with vegetative fluids.
It is also possible to work in other ways to obtain dehydrated flowers, but they are methods that involve some risk more than getting a bad result.
You can speed up dehydration by placing the flowers with substances that help the process, such as sand, which must be perfectly dry and involves very long times. Otherwise it is possible to use finely chopped silica crystals which tend to absorb moisture by nature: their progress can also be verified because silica changes color from blue to violet and pink as it absorbs moisture. With this method the flower must be placed on a bed of silica crystals in an airtight box and then completely cover the flower. In less than a week the flower should be completely dehydrated and should be extracted from silica crystals as soon as possible because they weaken the plant.
Another method can be to replace the vegetative liquids with conservative liquids such as glycerine: it is however a method to be applied only to plants that have the ability to absorb liquids, excellent results are obtained with leaves and with some types of flowers. Prepare a well-mixed solution using three fifths of hot water and two fifths of glycerin and then immerse the stems of the flowers for about ten centimeters. They are left to soak until, in less than a week, they change color.