Summer Flowers – Fall & Winter Splendour. While your garden and the local farmers market are abundant with flowers, take advantage of the blooms by preserving them for your fall and winter decorating.
To preserve your flowers, you will need the following materials:
1. Clean containers with tight-fitting lids (at least 6 – 8 inches deep) such as ice cream buckets
2. Large box of Borax crystals
3. Small funnel
4. Small spoon
6. Blooms of varying types from the garden.
Cut the blooms from their early bud stage to fully open. Keep in mind that a flower that is close to the end of its cycle will not preserve as nicely. Sort the blooms as to density. Pansies, buttercups and some poppies and other flowers with single petals can be dried together. Carnations and open roses together. Rose buds should be dried with any other tight buds.
Gently shake each flower to ensure all bugs are dislodged. Cut the stem about one inch from the base of the bloom. Remove any outside flower petals that may be damaged.
In the bottom of the container pour an inch and a half of Borax. Settle blooms into the container, with stems inserted into the crystals. Blooms should not touch each other or the side of the container.
Using a spoon, carefully sprinkle more crystals on each bloom and around it. Be sure to support any petals that may be odd-shaped by adding more Borax in/under those spots. Once you have approximately half-inch of crystals on top of the blooms, use a funnel to continue pouring the crystals evenly over the container until there is two inches as a top and all bloom petals are covered completely.
After three weeks, it is then safe to check your blooms. Some may be ready to be removed and some may need more drying time. Carefully spoon away top layer. Using the spoon or your hands, gently lift out flowers. Don’t lift by the petals. Holding the bloom by the stem, very, very gently shake to remove any crystals left.
Carnations, roses, and any types of buds may take longer to dry. When a bloom is dried, it will have a transparent look about it. Some blooms that have a strong scent may even retain some of that odour.
This process can be used to preserve a corsage and other flowers received for special occasions.
After you have removed your blooms from the Borax, pour the crystals through a colander to remove any leaves or petals you have missed. Place sifted crystals back in the bucket, leave the lid off for a few days. Stirring occasionally to ensure crystals are air-dried. Place lid on bucket and store in a cool dry place until you are ready to dry your next batch of blooms. They can be re-used three to five times.