This being our first year living on a property with an existing mature garden, I have savored every flower and hated to see any of them them just wilt and disappear. I thus embarked on a mission to preserve as many as I could so we could enjoy them inside through the winter months.
I had dried hydrangeas a couple of times in the past, and I love the look when they’re done right. Since the Rockhkaven garden has an abundant supply of hydrangeas, I focused my attention on them first. How do you like the wreath I made with a grapevine wreath base? So easy! I just kept adding blooms as they were ready until I filled in all the holes.
Then, I got a little obsessed and tried to save every bloom I could. No bloom left behind, you know! At some point I think Christian was a little worried that the house would be overrun with them. They’re so pretty though!
You know that the trick to drying hydrangeas is to wait and cut them after they begin drying naturally, right? If you cut them too soon, they just wilt and look all crinkly. Believe me, I know from experience!
But then I hated to throw out the pretty petals that were mixed on blooms with wilted petals. I just love all those shades of pastel blue and lavender, so I came up with this idea:
While traveling back in late June, we stopped at a sweet little antique shop in Thomas, WV, call Ella & Company. Ella inspired me to try hanging flowers to dry them, so I began experimenting with different kinds of flowers from the garden to see what worked. For a while they were hanging from the chandelier in the dining room, which probably also worried Christian.
I eventually settled on hanging them from some vintage shutters we found at an antiques fair.
I’m not sure where they will all ultimately wind up, but I have found places for a few, including the two bunches flanking my hydrangea wreath in the photo above.
Then, I was poking around Pinterest and was reminded of flower pressing. Now, I had actually plucked and pressed some pink dogwood blooms back in the spring. I put them between two pieces of framed glass in the guest suite, but then I forgot about that option temporarily.
Now, yes! I had an alternative to drying, because not every flower dries well. Plus, I had this cool 1950’s book on antique furniture that I found in a used bookstore for a dollar last year. I’ve just been waiting for the right opportunity to use some of the pages.
When I had framed more than enough pressed flowers, I was happy to pick up a new idea last time I stopped in at The Vintage Lady here in Harpers Ferry. The pressed flowers are decoupaged onto an empty wine bottle. Then I dropped in a small string of battery-powered LED lights.
Now that it’s nearly Halloween, I’m finished with flower preservation for this year. I’ll be watching for new ideas to use next summer and maybe trying to figure out how to share some of these beauties with people who might actually want them.
And, of course, I’ll be enjoying all the memories of our bountiful garden that surround us indoors until Spring comes around again!
(Let me know if you see anything you want.)