Flowers and Greens for Drying

Fall is in the air in the Adirondacks. We are entering out second night of probable frost. We lucked out last night but I'm not so sure everything will be looking great tomorrow morning. I'll be up early at the recommendation of my friends at Tarrnation Flower Farm, to spray my uncovered plants and try to prevent damage to them from frost. For a more detailed explanation about the science behind preventing frost damage with sprayed water, click here. Aren't university agricultural extension programs just wonderful!?

 Statice Pastel Seeker Mix and Sunset Seeker Mix

Statice Pastel Seeker Mix and Sunset Seeker Mix

OK- back to the subject of this post! Statice is one of the most generic flowers (in my opinion) out there. But there are actually a number of less common varieties. See my post on long lasting flower varieties for some options. All types dry well. I have several customers that came to market specifically to stock up on statice for drying. I have my own fluffy stash in the studio. It is really so beautiful en masse. Now, I just have to figure out what to do with it. Please share ideas in the comments! I'm thinking about making something like this gorgeous white statice wreath from Williams-Sonoma. Or maybe a framed, dried flat lay.

Globe thistle, if harvested before the pollen is released and the flower head "passes" makes a beautiful dried flower, too. There is something pretty magical about those round, spikey flowers. They seem other-worldly, and I love them. 

 Sweet Annie, also known as Sweet Wormwood or Artemisia Annua

Sweet Annie, also known as Sweet Wormwood or Artemisia Annua

Sweet Annie has became a favorite new scent for a number of my customers this summer. My kids say, "it smells like candy!" A few days ago, I harvested a giant armload of sweet Annie, pre-bloom. I may have paraded around the house with this huge bundle.....But for good reason- I needed to cover the flowers in the bed with a low tunnel and those long stems weren't going to be too comfortable bent over inside. Lesson learned: Grow Sweet Annie with other tall varieties next year. Maybe it can fit into a bed with cosmos or red spike amaranth. For now, I'm hoping for a second, shorter flush of Sweet Annie in the tunnel in the next few weeks. Many folks find that Sweet Annie re-seeds itself. Mine is growing in an annual bed through landscaping fabric. I'll have to seed it again. Also good to note: my Sweet Annie was in one of the more wet beds on our property. (We have thick clay soil and some drainage issues in certain areas.) It did fine, and now I know that I can grow it where other flowers can't grow. Yesterday, I divided the stems into small bundles and hung them from the ceiling. When dry, I'll make fragrant winter wreaths with them. 

 Bright Rose, Silvery Rose, and Apricot Mix Strawflowers

Bright Rose, Silvery Rose, and Apricot Mix Strawflowers

Strawflower might be the queen of all dried flowers. It looks as beautiful dried as live. They are sparkling gems. Strawflowers may be dried on the stem, but they actually seem to do best (my opinion) when harvested before they are fully open and when they are separated from the stem (decapitate them!). There is a gorgeous image of recently cut strawflower heads in Erika Stephen's Instagram feed, @junesblooms . She collects them into paper bouquet wrapper cones. Great idea! I can see them being made into holiday ornaments or garlands. 

Ruby Silk Grass is pretty spectacular. I love introducing it to customers in market bouquets. More recently, I've been harvesting and drying every single stem for installation at a special event at the end of this month. It turns more feathery as it dries, but it is still so beautiful. 

Frosted Explosion Grass already looks kind of wintery. I haven't tried working with it as a dried material yet, but I can't help but imagine how beautiful a fluffy wreath or a kissing ball with pieces "exploding" out of it might be. 

Dusty Miller rolls up a bit when it is hung for drying. But I feel I need to do something with it this winter. I started to put the leaves in a flower press. They come out like lovely snowflakes, destined to be made into something beautiful. - Maybe some kind of wall installation that looks like falling snow (gorgeous Anthropologie window displays are dancing through my mind right now).

Dry your gomphrena (globe amaranth) if you can bare to save any after your summer arrangements for long-lasting "pom poms" of color. Gather small bunches and hang them upside down in a warm, dry place. 

What are your favorite cut flowers for drying? Please share your ideas in the comments. The more types I can hold on to into the winter, the happier I'll be!

Until next time,

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