Planting a garden gives hours of pleasure. The planning and planting of the garden can be an enjoyable leisure activity that pays off big time when the colorful flowers start their summer show of profuse blooms. If you like the look of dried flowers, why not add plants to the garden that keep their colorful beauty when dried. A dried flower bouquet can add color and a bit of summer to the decor all year long.
Almost any flower can be preserved by drying, but the best bets for a dried flower arrangement are called “everlastings”. The everlasting plants have little moisture in their blooms and hold their color well.
Flowers and plants intended for drying should be picked in the morning after the dew has dried and when they are only partially open. Flowers continue to open as they dry, therefore they should not be fully opened when picked. Pick the most perfect flowers, as poor shapes, and insect damage become more obvious after drying.
The everlasting flowers dry well by simply gathering them and hanging them upside down. While they are drying the flowers should be kept in a warm dry place for several weeks. The leaves should be taken off before drying
Flowers that are dried in this manner will dry with fairly straight stems. Later, if you want the stems to be bent or an arrangement, the stem can be soaked and then curved slightly.
Everlasting flowers that work well for drying include:
Agapanthus / African Lily
Ageratum. Aster family.
Baby’s Breath. Pick when about half of the florets are open. hang upside down to dry.
Bell’s of Ireland. Annual. An old fashioned favorite. with spikey green sheaths and small white flowers.
Blue Salvia. Annual. Pick with the florets on the spikes are fully open and bright blue. Hang upside down to dry.
Candytuft. robust perennial in some area, an annual in others. Mounds of ice white, pink or lilac flowers.
Celosia (cockscomb). Annual. Harvest plumed celosia when the blooms are bright and nearly opened. Harvest crested celosian when seeds just start to form.
Feverfew. Hardy perennial with yellow flower heads.
Globe Thistles, Perennial with prickly leaves and round flower heads of blue or white.
Gomphrena / Globe Amaranth. Cut when flowers are at their peak of color.
Helichrysum (strawflower). Annual. Harvest only the flower. Place wire up the bottom of the flower and store upright in styrofoam.
Larkspur: Tender annual with stately spikes of pink, blue, rose, lavender or white.
Lavender. Pick stems with the florets on the spike are opening.
Love-in-a-Mist. Annual with airy foliage and blooms in watercolor shades of blue, white, rose, red and violet.
Money Plant. translucent “silver dollar’ like seed pods.
Pearly Everlasting. Perennial. The flowers have a woolly appearance.
Pincushion flower. Flowers look like miniature pincushions.
Sea Hollies. Small clusters of flowers with compact heads.
Sea Pink / Common Thrift. Balloon like flower heads of pink or white.
Snow on the Mountain. annual with broad variegated leaves and small white flowers.
Statice: Small clusters of calyxes of yellow, white, purple, lavender or pink.
Strawflowers. Double, straw-textured flowers of pink, gold, red. salmon, yellow and white.
Winged Everlasting. Looks like wings on stems. Cut for drying just as they open.
Yarrow (Achillea). Cut when every umbel on the head is fully developed.
Zinnia. solitary long stemmed flowers come in a variety of bright colors.
Burpee – the Complete Flower Gardener, The comprehensive Guide to Growing Flowers Organically by Karan Davis Cutler and Barbara W. Ellis.