Dried flow­ers

Dry your flow­ers to make con­tem­po­rary ar­range­ments or hand­i­crafts like pot­pourri.

NZ Gardener - 365 Days of Flowers - - Crafts & Gifts -

The days of twee bas­kets filled with dried flow­ers are gone. Dried flo­ral ar­range­ments have reached new heights, tak­ing on a more sleek, stylised look. Dry flow­ers up­side down in small bunches or lay in­di­vid­ual flow­ers face down on pa­per in a warm, dark, dry place.

FLO­RAL PA­PER

When mak­ing your own pa­per, add dried petals to the pulp for a fancy fin­ish. Rip waste pa­per into tiny pieces and soak overnight. Add petals, then use a deckle and mould from a pa­per-mak­ing kit to lift and drain – and you have your­self a sheet of pa­per!

BUN­NIES TAILS

Re­mem­ber those fluffy grass tails you used to pick as a child? Known as bun­nies tails or hare's tail grass ( Lagu­rus ova­tus), this an­nual weed makes an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to dried flower ar­range­ments. Dye the fluffy heads with nat­u­ral plant dyes or fruit juice.

EV­ER­LAST­ING

Once picked, strawflow­ers Xe­rochry­sum (syn. Bractean­tha), also known as pa­per daisies, pretty much last for­ever. What look like petals are ac­tu­ally pa­per-like bracts; the bracts sur­round a cen­tral clus­ter of small flow­ers. The flow­ers hold their colour well.

MAKE POT­POURRI

Har­vest a se­lec­tion of flow­ers and herbs with a strong scent, like laven­der and roses. Har­vest fra­grant leaves too, like le­mon ver­bena and rose gera­nium. For colour, add cal­en­dula, zin­nia and strawflower petals. Lay them out in a warm, dry, airy room for a cou­ple of weeks to dry. Petals are quicker to dry than whole flow­er­heads; scented gera­nium leaves of­ten take longer. Make sure the flow­ers are fully dry be­fore us­ing. Place in an air­tight con­tainer. Pick a dom­i­nant scent you like best (flo­ral, cit­rusy, herbal or spicy), add 4-5 drops of fra­grant oil. Choose your next favourite scent as an ac­cent, and add 1-2 drops. Seal the con­tainer and leave for 24 hours for the scent to per­meate the flow­ers. If the per­fume isn't to your lik­ing, add more, or a dif­fer­ent, fra­grant oil. Note: es­sen­tial oils, as op­posed to syn­thetic fra­grant oils, pro­vide ther­a­peu­tic value but they do not last as long. If us­ing, you'll need to use or­ris root pow­der as well. Just add the oils to ta­ble­spoon or­ris root pow­der for a longer-last­ing scent.

In days long past, house­keep­ers of large coun­try es­tates would cre­ate fra­grant pot­pourri as a means of per­fum­ing rooms.

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