Sunday, May 29, 2011
I love hydrangeas and I especially love them after they are preserved. I have found a tried and true method of drying them. There are several ways which this can be done. I never had much luck with air drying them...removing the leaves along the stem bundling 5 or 6 of them together and hanging them in a cool, dry place. Or, drying them upright in a vase with a few inches of water, out of direct sunlight waiting until the water has evaporated then adding more water, repeating the process until you feel the blooms are sufficiently dry.
The method I prefer and had very good luck with was with glycerin and water. This process makes the blooms more soft and supple to the touch, and it helps to preserve the shape of the bloom longer.
By following these easy steps you will have a gorgeous dried hydrangea:
1. Gather the hydrangeas blooms keeping in mind that the length of the stems
need to be about 18 inches or under and while it is tempting to try to dry
those full, lushly colored hydrangea blooms mid-summer, it is best to allow
them to mature on the shrub before you cut them. Fresh blooms tend to wilt
and turn brown ( this is what happened to me, bummer)!
2. You can tell that they are ready because as they age, they will turn either
green/pink in warm climates, or blue/purple in colder areas, and their texture
is paper-like rather than soft. (I should have taken a photo of how they look
when they are picked too early) Cut the stems at a right angle and crush the
ends with a hammer. This will help with the uptake of the solution.
3. In a vase mix a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part glycerin. You can find
glycerin at Walmart in the pharmacy or your local pharmacy. Now the way this
works is that the water and the glycerin are drawn through the stem of the
plant and the water evaporates through the petals leaving the glycerin. Glycerin
will turn the petals a rich, golden brown which is a more natural look but you
can add a small drop of dye to the solution. Add your hydrangeas to the vase
and in two to three weeks you will have a beautiful bouquet of summer
hydrangeas to enjoy through the fall and winter.
Info from: P. Allen Smith Garden Home-edibles Berry, The Berry family of nurseries.