In this summer season, it’s easy to only have eyes for lush green and new blooms, full, burgeoning arrangements that echo our happy gardens and the spray of wildflowers that seem to sprawl next to every roadside and sidewalk.
The heart of summer is also when we start to harvest and dry grasses and blossoms at their peak beauty.
Drying & Preserving
We hang a lot of things upside down to dry—we bend the stems in twine and hang in a well-ventilated space. Sometimes we have to get crafty about where to do this, and you can, too—we’ve dried things from ceiling rafters, attics, and garden sheds. You can laminate them, preserve them in old school flower presses and heavy books, or hammer and press the shapes and colors onto t-shirts. It’s do-what-you-want when it comes to drying these keepsakes.
We love the antique beauty of a dried arrangement. In Colorado, strawflower, heather, and statice hold their color and dries beautifully; billy balls and yarrow keep their faded yellow and gorgeous shapes; and grasses, lavender, sage, and Russian sage retain the memory of their sweet scent. You can spray paint (metallics! Bright whites!) and bleach florals, too—we’re really into bleached ruscus, amaranth, ferns, and thistles; they’re monochrome and super cool.
Protea, with its vivid range of color, provides high drama and volume. We love drying poppy and stellata pods, too. There’s a timeless wildness in extending the life of these plants and flowers, and in a dried arrangement, the opportunity to keep and enjoy it expands greatly, too.
Arranging and Repurposing Dried Flora
With dried plants and flowers, not only can you enjoy them for longer, but you can repurpose them in so many ways: break down your arrangement when you’re done, and separate into bud vases throughout the house, or bunch them as you like and hang as a lovely wall arrangement. A quick preserving tip: you can use any cheap hairspray (and lots of it!) to keep your grass plumes controlled and prevent shedding.
With aromatics like eucalyptus, you can hang from your shower head, and the steam will continue to release its oils and fragrance.
You can find our limited-supply selection of dried arrangements here.
Photo by Rae Scott