NEL­LIE GARD­NER’S TOP PLANTS FOR DRY­ING:

Country Gardens - - Garden Know-how -

At first, flower farmer and seller Nel­lie Gard­ner dried tra­di­tional flow­ers— stat­ice, gom­phrena, Am­mo­bium,

and nigella. But as she ex­per­i­mented with some of her fresh bou­quets, she dis­cov­ered that these also dried well: • ‘Nip­pon Taka’ pep­pers

(Capsicum an­nuum ‘Nip­pon Taka’) • Lisianthus (Eus­toma gran­di­flo­rum) • Dahlia (Dahlia rosea) —smaller pom­pom and dec­o­ra­tive types dry best • Zin­nia (Zin­nia el­e­gans

‘Be­nary’s Giant’)

• Cone­flower (Echi­nacea pur­purea)

• Black-eyed Su­san (Rud­beckia hirta)

• Sun­flower (Helianthus an­nuus)

• Gar­den cress seed heads

(Le­pid­ium sativum)

• Oregano (Ori­g­anum vul­gare)

• Thyme (Thymus), all va­ri­eties • Sage (Salvia of­fic­i­nalis)

• Rose­mary (Ros­mar­i­nus

of­fic­i­nalis) STEP 1 Make a small bunch of plant ma­te­rial us­ing a gen­er­ous hand­ful of ma­te­ri­als about 8 inches long. Use four to five ever­green branches, lay­ing the flow­ers on the top of the bunch. Make sure the flow­ers are fairly uni­form in size and shape. STEP 2 Place the bunch on the wreath base ever­green side down and fold wire clamps tightly over the stems. Leave about 2½ inches of stems be­yond the clamp to se­cure the stems so they don’t slip out or flop around. STEP 3 Add new bunches, lay­ing each one down over the pre­vi­ous bunch, go­ing coun­ter­clock­wise so that they over­lap, and fold wire clamps tightly over each bunch. Be sure not to an­gle the bunches in to­ward the cen­ter or to the out­side be­cause the wreath base will show through. STEP 4 The last bunch is the trick­i­est be­cause you are work­ing un­der the first one. Slide it in from the side while gen­tly lift­ing up the first bunch and clamp down tightly. STEP 5 When the wreath is fin­ished, you can at­tach cones, pods, berries, or any other em­bel­lish­ments with a hot-glue gun.

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