Summer Flowers All Fall!

One of the perks of having a garden is free flowers. I fill my house with blooms even in Seattle’s cold and rainy fall by drying hydrangeas at the end of summer.

I had been apprehensive about flower drying after reading complex instructions that involved silica and space to hang them while they dried.  That was until I forgot to replenish the water in a hydrangea bouquet.  Instead of wilting, the blooms dried—and held their color too!

After that I experimented arranging fresh cut blooms and letting them dry in place. It’s much easier to manipulate the stems while soft. I started with a wire frame I’d saved from the previous year’s pine bough wreath. I used twist ties to hold the blossoms in place (though supplies are readily available) and added a bow made from ribbon scavenged from some gift. I hung the creation inside to dry, then transferred it to my front door. It lasted the entire season.

Fall ArrangementMy next attempt was a full bouquet, adding seedpods and grasses for height and interest. Remember—no water in the vase! It looked lovely on my server for over two months before fading.

Dried DuoThe following year, I planned ahead and dried individual blossoms to use in my holiday decorating. Single stems can be placed in small vases around the house to dry for later use. Though if you have a spot where you can hang them upside down, do it. They get less dusty.

It’s easy to slip them into a pine bough when you’re ready to deck the halls. Each variety dries differently. My dark pink became a lovely burgundy—perfect for holiday décor.

Over the years, I’ve learned to cut the blooms right at their peak of color before they start to brown. The varieties with larger petals hold up best and once dry can withstand a bit of manhandling without crumbling. Experimentation is the key to find what works for you. Have fun with it.