Sunday, November 15, 2009

Drying Flowers

FDPG got a flower dryer a while back, as a present from someone. It was one of those kits you make yourself, with two flat boards sandwiching layers of cardboard and paper. FDPG is generally quite enthusiastic about these kinds of things: the idea of floating around the garden like a giddy little fairy, gathering flowers willy nilly from the garden, and using them to make Truly Amazing Art Work really appeals to her. So we dutifully made the dryer, or rather, I made it under her very careful scrutiny, since she was a bit under the weather, and then we started choosing flowers to put in it.

At first she chose things like dandelions, lovage, and feverfew leaves, or grass stalks and daisies. And was a little, err, zealous about screwing down the wingnuts holding together the cardboard, paper, and flowers. We had lots of bits and pieces of squished brown items, or squished green skinny things, mostly with lots of ribbed lines across them (which one could easily spot as a Firm Cardboard Impression). We also had a few squished bugs, sadly, smothered forever in their imitation Pompeiian glory.

She was slightly puzzled, I think, because it wasn't quite as glamorous or voluptuously colourful as she'd expected. So we went for more adventurous flowers. We looked further afield. We took scissors. And baskets. We clipped. We examined for perfection. We even scrutinized, hands over brows, frowning across the lawn with the sun in our eyes. It was like being in an Anne of Green Gables movie.

Well, without the long dresses, bonnets, braids and Tennyson. FDPG would probably enjoy a long dress, or even some braids, but she finds Tennyson a bit, err, long winded at this hasty stage of her hasty hasty life. Unless it's his Christmas carol...
This new direction in Gathering Flowers For FDPG's Artistic Intentions was much better, especially after I reluctantly said "okaaaay" to my perfect cerulean blue pansies, the unidentified purple sprays of blossom from the herb garden, many many many Digitalis blossoms (they, umm, stick rather unfortunately to the paper) some stalks of Hypericum perforatum, Lady's Mantle, and our very fattest, most truly gorgeous, purple clematis bloom.

We even tried curling the tendrils and fronds, carefully posing them for Artistic Effect. Here is a curled Hypericum, which in its pre-Dried state was definitely a little long in the tooth, not that you'd know it now. Things were definitely looking up for ole FDPG and her Grande Passion des Fleurs.

Our sole surviving Digitalis

A sprig of Lady's Mantle. This is a really great subject for drying: they all looked charming and perfect, no matter how, err, hurried their interment was. Plus, they all seemed to come with such long stems - handy for overlapping collage work.

Hypericum before drying. This is another handily long-stemmed flower.

Hypericum after drying.

We even used some of the coral bark maple leaves, especially the fall ones. They held their colour amazingly well.


Vivian said...

Sounds like a fun activity. If my children knew there was such a thing as a flower dryer, they would hound me for one.

Shelly said...

These turned out really nice. We have one of those driers to take camping with us. It's lots of fun and then we use the flowers on handmade cards.

Flowers said...

Flowers look nice even after drying them up. I must appreciate the shots on your blog. keep up the good work.

sheila said...

Well, Vivian, I owe you one after seeing those WAY too cute erasers you sent me the link for...remember? I opened that link with little FDPG sitting next to me. She practically LEAPT into the computer after their cuteness. It IS kind of addicting, though.

Shelly, that is a great idea. I'll have to remember it when we go anywhere different - collecting weird leaves and flowers would be fun.

Flower, um, thanks. I must appreciate my shots too. Even if you are a commercial florist (but why are you posting on blogs in other countries? You must know I'll never order flowers from you, even if you DO have charming bouquets).

Heather said...

Love the way the speckles on that foxglove show up. One of these days I'll have to tell you the sad tale of what became of my front flower gardens at our old home. :-(