Every gardener wishes they could keep their favourite flowers forever, regardless of the season. Before your best blooms fade, take a cue from the Victorian and Japanese traditions of preserving flowers. Pressing flowers is the perfect way to ensure the best your garden can offer is around for years to come.
The secret is to know what flowers are best for pressing, and when to pick them.
Great flowers to press include small roses, violets, pansies, cosmos, delphiniums, sweet-peas, hydrangeas and forget-me-nots, as well as fern and ivy leaves. The easiest flowers to press are blooms with single layers of thin petals and without dense centres, but more elaborate blooms can be preserved, as well.
While there are different ways to press flowers and leaves, you should always pick your flowers during the driest part of the day, ideally at noon. Remember that the petals should look perfect, without any bruising, and keep in mind that colours will fade during the drying process.
Once you have your flowers picked you are ready to begin preserving your garden's bounty.
- Heavy book or flower press (available at craft stores)
- Blotting paper
- Brick or other heavy object, if using books to press flowers
Pressing flowers the traditional way
The oldest method of pressing flowers is using an old book or phone book. An alternative to using a book is a traditional flower press, available at craft and garden stores. In either case, the method is similar:
- Open your old book, then place a layer of blotting paper on a page.
- Lay your flowers and leaves flat on the paper, making sure they do not touch each other.
- Place another layer of blotting paper on top to cover them and close your book.
- You can place some bricks on top to add more weight.
Using these methods, you will have pressed flowers in about three to four weeks.