Botanicals...Cut and dried!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

What's your method!! Share AND SHOW your ideas on what you cut and dry from your garden!

I am going to start with horsetail reeds and head this thread flat out with a question -->

Does anyone have a good way to dry horsetail reeds?

I have been told, just stick them in a vase in an arrangement and let them (and the entire floral dry by just not adding water after a few days of enjoying them as fresh cuts.....) ...well, I did not have a floral to arrange and was just trying to dry the reeds it ended up, I did so with (ugh!) "browning" success....but in the past I have left floral arrangements in their vases or containers to go dry and well have had some great luck with especially daffodils. The daffs will turn to paper flowers and will make a lovely dried florals even after their freshness has been spent. Mums will too!

I have cut and dried most flowers by making small field bunches and hanging them upside-down with great success.

But anyway getting back to the dilema of the horsetails, I tried to dry mine just cut and left air drying, they lost their color, and wrinkled up a tad... they turned an olive brown and I was wondering if someone knew of a better way to dry them that helps them retain their lovely green color longer! Field bunching and hanging upsidedown for these, well, I have
not been successful. While the olive bown bamboo "fossil plant look" is cool, I was looking for a method to keep their greener color, ok, any advise here anyone?

(Oh, BTW, the horsetails have a silica resin in them which makes them toxic to pets or anyone consuming them, so eating them is NOT and option, keep your kids and pets safe from these! On drying some of mine, I discovered a white residue forming on some and well, at first I thought it was mold until I did a little bit more research on this plant! )

Here they are fresh cut....pretty green aren't they!?

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

It never occured to me to try drying horsetails. They are so easy to find here year round that fresh ones are always available. Have you tried drying them in silica sand or using glycerine?

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

No, but funny you should mention silica because the horsetail has in it that very same chemical and that is what makes the plant toxic! When I was drying some of ours, I thought they were getting mold on them and when I looked closer, it was a cyrstal that was being emmited from the plant! LOL!! DO NOT EAT THIS PLANT! I so want to find a better way to make the color hold. The reptile brown is fine for fall arrangements, but that lovely green is what I am after!

I have tried drying other flowers heads in the silica sand. That works fairly well on some blossoms. Been a while since I have done any with that. I remember drying violets, columbines and daisys in that as a kid! Did some bridal bouquets too. Guess I will have to give it a whirl on the horstails!

I cut and hang field bunches of quite a few varieties and just hang them upsidedown to dry. That works well with peonies, yarrows, marigolds, carnations, roses, artemesias, gomphrenas to name a few.

So whats your pride and joy in the dryer?

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

I haven't dried flowers now for several years but I used to love dried hydrangeas. The darker blue/purple they were the better they held their color. I never could get the pale ones to dry without turning brown though.

I did the hanging bunches on things like lavender, yarrow and rosebuds but prefered silica sand for most flowers. I never tried the glycerine myself but loved the ones I have bought.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

if they're drying fine in the vase,other than turning brown, by letting the water evaporate slow,trying adding some green food coloring. Don't know if it'll work on horsetail but I remember when I was in grade scool dying the carnations and clerey that way. Nothing ventured...nothing gain.

and no smartypants remark about how long it's been since I was in grade school....LOL Just remember I know how your mind works Toots*BSG*


Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

LOL Peggy, you were in the grade right under mine were'nt you? That means it was just a couple of years ago because I am forever young! I remember using food color on carnations to make them different colors. My favorite was to mix red and blue coloring to get purple carnations and if you started with deep red flowers and added lots of blue they would come out almost black.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

OK zany,I was expecting that out of my "old" bud BlossomBuddy but not from you....LOL. Remember the carrot tops grown in saucers of water? Ah,the simple pleasures.

I try to get my DGkids interested in gardening but I'm lucky if I get most of them outta bed before noon.My DSs youngest likes houseplants but kills them as fast as I give them to her.My DD youngest(the only one out of 6 that get's up w/ the chickens)had her owe row of patty pan squash in the garden she planted this year. Last year she helped pick peas...if you can call that help but she was having fun and it instills the love of gardening.

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

Peggy, at least I was nice and said you were younger than me... ***grin***

Maybe you need to get the kids into night gardening. That way they can sleep till noon and have an excuse for being up late that won't get them into trouble. The six year old sounds hopeful for the gardening gene.

Ah yes, the carrot tops went with the toothpicks in the sweet potato or avocado seed and the pineapple tops or the bean pressed against the side of a clear glass with paper towels to hold it in place so you could see it sprout and learn about how seeds turn into plants. They were simple things that many of us were shown when we were very young but they made lasting impressions on us.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

was awfully nice of you to make me the younger...LOL

Ah,yes the few good memories I have from grade school. ....then it went down the drain when I went into jr.high.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL!!! YO P! Yooou following mee?!!! LOL!

I was laying low ready to pounce, but I know better!! I'ma getting O-so-old too ya know! Them grey hairs are well earned here and I am already parking in the handicapped zone! They dun handed me my walking cane but I am not thaaaat old to get the gold watch!! I beleive you beat me there!! So Ima behaving myself! I fully respect my elderly!

The food coloring idea sounds like a try! I can't do any more horsetails until next season, but that is a thought. The darned things get white powder on them that looks like mold, but it is probably the silica in the plant too. The reptile brown-green is oh so loverly for those arrangements needing that lizard look, but dang if there was some way to keep their beautiful green that would be awesome!

I am gonna try doing them in silica sand and try some just sunbaked like hay. Will let ya all know how things go. But I am finding, the slightest bit of moisture in them prompts that powder be it mold or the silica...

Carnations, aaaaah yes, we also used to and still do color them up with floral spray paint! Ya grab the boogers by the bud and just spray the fringes of the petals in a complimentary color....when they open they are pretty awesome! Carnations will dry fair to midlan if hung upsidown, but white will turn brown and best dried when partially open. They do ok in silica sand as well.

Here's some Artemesia silverking that was just hung in field bunches upsidown and air dried. They are a joy to dry and easy too. After they are dried we sleeve them and tie with a bow and they are ready to go! I do babysbreath, strawflowers, gomphrena and statices the same way.

Peonies are a great one to dry and that will hold their color for a good time. The pinks, reds are great as once dry they look like roses. White will turn brown. Same method, cut the stems and hang upsidown and whalah! Takes a few days to dry them in warm weather and you must do them when they are only partially open as some will open more while drying and especially if you want that rosebud look otherwise they get too loosing their petals if dried in a too open stage.

Has anyone tried using the microwave or a food dehydrator on flowers? Or the reeds??? I have heard of people doing it, but wonder what the success is!

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

I dried some nigellia seeds pods and bells of Ireland.Didn't get them until they were a little passed prime but the nigella pods dried well. The B of I still had their green coloring when I cut them,I was hoping they'd hold the green once dry but they turned buff colored.That was 2 yrs ago. The nigellia still look good but the B of I are starting to shed.

I tried drying Queen Anne's Lace w/ no success either upright in a vase w/ water nor bunched and hung up side down.

I've dried a few flowers in the food dehydrantor. I picked rudbeckias just after their petals were fully opened,cut the stem off and placed them face up on the rack. Dried them w/ the vent fully open. Color held up really well but the petals withered,shrunk and twisted. Tried violas and pansies. Got a big laugh at those. They dried up into little dark specks. Couldn't even tell what they were after drying.

I'll have to try the peony. I have a white blooming plant 7-8 yrs old that blooms very well and I do cut them for fresh arrangements. Planted about 7 more peonies this passed fall. Can you dry them in the silica too?

I have yet to get hydrangeas to dry w/ color yet. May try the sand on those to.

See how well I ignored that "older than me-grey hair-walking cane"remark....LOL

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL!! Well least I dint say older than dirt!! See, I am trying to behave! I can play nice with the other children I can I can I can!! LOL!

I had success with Queen Ann's but I cant remember what I did.. I think I hung them upsidedown....or maybe it was silica sand. The derned stems are so scrawny on them makes them hard to dry, that I remember!

Oh no no no on white peonies...never had success on them, hung upsidedown, they dried but turned lizard brown! The pinks on the other hand dry great! Maybe silica sand on the whites would be a better choice.

Here is one of my end of summer "pick it and plunk it in a vase" drieds...there is yarrow, miscanthus, gaillardias, ruds, asters, qwaking oats, golden rods... it held its colors great for a few months

I have hung asters, gaillardias, ruds and daisys up and had some success. gotta watch the humidity though on someof those summer days with them.. just as you think they are dry and flip them to use they can get bent necks.

The best for drying in a vase are daffs! I will just put the fresh cuts in water and let the water evaporate and these lovelys always make great paperflowers! Hold their color faily well too.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

You forget I've known you for a while....your just being nice now cause Santa may be watching....LOL

Those are lovely.

I hung the QAL upside down from the rafter in the living room. The flowers all kinda bunched together as they dried so I didn't have that nice open flat head once they were dry. I'll have to get some silica for next year and start experimenting.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Had to be the sillysand... I remember I had nice open blossoms on the QAL.

Or how about this.. take the QAL when they are all brown and dried natural in the field then spray them henny color ya want!

Yeah, yer right...I am behaving... GOD knows I am trying to stay on the path of righteousness! But .....hehehehe! I gotta get my *grins* now and again ya know!

Well herez on of my topiarys completely made of dry flowers...would you beleive this thing is oh about 12 years old and its holding its color pretty well. I have not had it in the sun and usually keep a sleeve on it to keep the dustmonsters off of it....I have had some of my creations fade and I am going to try spraying them with gold paint just for grins to see what it looks like,

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

BLOSSOMBUDDY, 12 years! That is amazing to have the colors stay so long. I had some hydrangeas that lasted for about 5 years but then the new puppy decided to tear them up all over the house lol it looked like we were walking on potpouri when she was done.

I do have a question for you though... Why are you trying to be so good here on DG? I don't think Santa has time to read the forums with all the mail he gets this time of year...

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Being good!! LOL! That was a personal to P!! Her and I go way back... we get a rise out of teasing the tarfeathers out of each other! Lifes short ya know! Gotta get the grins in while ya can!

So how do you dry your "drangeas"! I have always wanted a blue flowering bush, but so far have yet to obtain one....the whites go brown as far as I have seen....but still interesting for filler! Just cut them off the bush after nature takes her course?

This fall arrangement has some wild oats. I just put them from the field into the arrangement and let the air dry that way. I love combining the silks with the drys!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, too, in that same fall arrangement with the oats... the coronation gold achileas.. those were hung upside-down then put in the arrangement...

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

I have done purple, pink and blue hydrangea by just letting them stay in a vase with about an inch of water and letting the water evaporate. They do great in a cool area away from the heater vents but not so well in a well heated room so I usually leave them on a shelf in the back laundry area that is unheated. I've never had a white hydrangea but it seems like most white flowers other than baby's breath turn brown.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

OOOOOOoooOOOH! LOL! Show pics if you have them I would love to see the "drangeas"! *beg*!!

I have had white asters dry ok in the ahng them upsidesown department. You can leave them in a vase too and let the water evaporate. Daisys are fickle, the petals shrink or fall off.

Have you tried lavenders? I cant get those to grow here.

Laitris on the otherhand does good here.. dried them in the vase and they hold their color fair.

Golden rod here is rampant.. it dries very well either hung upsidown or in the vase.

Been doing miscanthus grasses.. this is ambrosia grass...nice plumes, but they do shed some.

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

Sorry, but The pup destroyed all the hydrangeas in the house and I never thought to take pictures. Interesting that the white asters work though. I may have to buy some to try since I have not planted a garden since we moved other than a handful of potted plants that I managed to keep.

I never tried Goldenrod. That sounds like it would do well. As for the grasses, the invasive pampas grass is everywhere here so if I want it I just hack some down. I never got around to growing any ornamental grasses. Yours sure look nice!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, that is miscanthus "ambrosia" and it clumps pretty nice. Cut it in the fall and no more that to do but stick it in the arrangement.

Pampas grass is not my zone...Does the pink hold its color for a dried?

Be an idea to trade drieds maybe one day!!

I have miscanthus gigantus too. It is not as fast growing as I thought. But I put that stuff against my neighbs ugly privacy fence and it got rid of their ugly! Short of putting the great wall of China there, it was the best I could do. Those people take care of nothing well and well, it was such an eyesore. It gets reallly tall.. about 12-15 feet. Its the one that the farmers are beginning to plant for a fuel source.

These two grasses do shed just a little, but not too bad.
Put a little hairspray on them and they hold better. Hairspray on cattails do the trick too, but if you get the cats too late, they bust open and its all over but the crying. Fuzzies everywhere!

I want to get a clump of that maidenhair grass. It grows rampant out here, but the plumes are huge and gorgeous.. I keep saying, ooooh just a little clump.....just hope it does not invade too fast!

london England, United Kingdom

Been enjoying your dried flower arrangements Blossombuddy, Thank you!
12 years, that is an amaising topiary!!
I have a box of dried stuff, it just looks brown and dead, lol!
I'm thinking of spraying them to bring back some colour, have you tried that?
I like to mix dried with fresh sometimes.

Thumbnail by terriculture
Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks Terriculture! I love mixing drys with fresh.

My secret in that topiary I think was keepign it with a cover on it. I used a sleeve from a bunch of fresh flowers and it happened to fit it perfectly so the light was filtered to it.

I was thinking about trying to spray paint a couple of my dried wreaths like in either silver or gold to see how that would work to give them that metalic Victorian look!

I think the heat and humidity just reaks havoc on some of the colors.

I have a small heart wreath that just might make my first victim on that.. its colors are faded...the colors used to be as brit as the picture and now are will see how that turns out...

Well, here is the before shot....

london England, United Kingdom

Your heart wreath is lovely, it's dried well with the flowers still intact.
Looking forward to seeing the make over !!!

I wonder if food colouring would work painted on with a little brush?
The floral colour sprays are just too expensive! might get some car spray LOL! hey the flowers are dead anyway!!!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Metalic car spray.....hmmmm now that just might give it the antique look!! Silver, gold...hmmm.. I am leaning on the gold here...

LOL! As soon as I get a can will pop the makeover up and let you all kow hte rest of the story onthe heart wreath! The poor thing was prettier in its hey day!

This double heart is about 12-13 years why it held its color better than that little smaller one.. heck if I know... its dusty, but could do a re-do or put the thing outside. Both were made at about the same time....

london England, United Kingdom

Nice heart, what is the outer ring made with?

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Terriculture, those are pre-made straw heart wreath bases. The little heart was looking the same until the flowers were attatched!

I'm still looking for the gold paint!! Hehehehe! How about a silver chenelle bow if it gets done to where it looks ok after painting! You know it will be a first!

So ok, speaking of bows.... oh, no, is that another thread? I am a sucker for pull bows, but have made them by hand too sometimes with not much got any hints???

london England, United Kingdom

Don't think we have a thread for bows! No tips or hints from me, I'm rubbish at bows lol!

Did you find the gold paint yet? silver bows sound cool.

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well I have an instruction sheet for bows...somewhere.. maybe I can post some make shift directions on a new thread. I am dying to try the bowdabras that I got last fall. Right now I have a pile up of pre-made bows that I should use before I get to making any more.

No, still hunting for the gold paint. Maybe the mechanic has some...I have to go there today anyway, our truck broke down so I am in {{{fine}}} shape for the new year. Hmmm is this an omen...seems I started 08 the same way with vehicle probs!

Ok, well soon as I get some paint, will share!

On the terms of dries...hmmm was wondering if there was a thread too on potpouri? Well, if not, guess we can keep it here!

london England, United Kingdom

Hope your truck behaves itself for the rest of 2009!

I do have some potpouri somewhere. I know I have some clear vases with potpouri and dried flowers in them. I'll look for them, might take a while...... LoL!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, I am good for the dry part.. but what about the essential oils and how to use them? Someone is gonna have to take that thread!!

Baaad truck....grrrr....still in for no go on getting any metalic paint today.. drat!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, the metalic paint thing got set aside.. the DH was ill this week so had to put a lot of my pet projects on the back burner.

Anyway, today terriculture gave me a great a great suggestion. She made a flower arrangement on the vases and containers thread that used tin tin. Well, here I cannot get tin tin so she suggested to take bear grass and wrap it around a broom stick and let it dry. Im thinking this might work with cat tail leaves, bamboo and other grasses! Or for a bigger curl wrap it around a can!

Maybe terriculture could post her pic of her arrangement here to share what tin tin looks like!

Watseka, IL(Zone 5a)

Looks like we will be having some guests from the POTPOURI group! Come on in and join us!!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Found you all--Thanks Blossom!

Have to hit the sack for now--with catch up another time.


london England, United Kingdom

Oops! Sorry about the delay Blossom! I'll get the tin tin out and take some pics, back later with those!
In the mean time, here's the arrangement with fresh Roses, Tulips and dried tin tin.

Thumbnail by terriculture
london England, United Kingdom

a closer look....

Thumbnail by terriculture
london England, United Kingdom

Hi Gitagal, welcome!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Blossom tracked me down in the Crafts Forum. I imagine she searched for Potpourri??

I do not do anything special, or spectacular, but I do dry all kinds of flower petals from my garden every year. You'll be surprised how much there can be had!
I do not dry whole flower heads--nor do I hang them to dry--I simply take off/apart all the petals as they are soon to "expire" and dry them on big, flat wicker trays. In the Spring--starting with Roses and Peonies--and all through the summer with all kinds of other stuff.

In the Fall--there are Mophead blooms that are turning a beautiful maroon (I cut apart all the individual little flowers), annuals & perennials that are on their last leg--like Salvias, Mums, Marigolds, Ageratum clusters, drying up Brugmansia blooms (they keep their colors wonderfully), colorful foliage of plants--like coleus (cut them apart), Caladiums, top parts of Dusty Millers, Persian Shield, etc....
Seed pods from flowers like--Rose Campion, Columbines, and so on. If I lived near some scrub meadows--I would go looking for other seed pods among the weeds, but I do not, so my potpourri has almost NO fillers in it.

Once you have done this for a few years, you will see what dries and keeps it's color and what does not. As noted above--no white petals look great when dried, and flowers that have a high water content (Impatiens, Begonias, etc.) do not dry well at all.

I grow Straw Flowers and Gomphrenas (Globe Amaranth) just for collecting for my Potpourri. They need no drying.....

Anyway--I store ALL the huge amounts of dried flower petals in a large tote. When I run out of room--I make potpourri balls/pompadours.
I buy pretty lace curtains at Thrift Stores and cut them up in approx. 10"x10" squares. Line each square with another piece of the fine bridal tulle (keeps the chaff in) and fill each with a big hand-full of the dried flowers. Then I tie it off with some spool ribbons and glue a small silk flower to the center of the bow. Done!

When it is time to give these as a gift--or sell some (don't do that much...)--I scent them with Potpourri Oil using a bamboo skewer dipped into the oil and then poked all through the sachet. To keep the scent "in"--I store them in plastic bags.

Here's the "works" from just a few weeks ago.
The tote on the chair is from past years--the bag on the table is just from this past Summer. Lots--NO? The lace curtain is what will get cut up. This was my "mission" a few Sundays ago. Worked on it all day and made 45 balls. That's how many squares I got out of this one-panel lace curtain.


Thumbnail by Gitagal
Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Here is a pile of the finished "balls"....

Thumbnail by Gitagal
Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

This shot is from 2006, but it shows the potpourri balls a bit clearer.

Thumbnail by Gitagal

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