Dry Bouquet: Harvest and Combine Flowers

Dry Bouquet: Harvest and Combine Flowers

It’s time to put dried flower art in a new light. Because boring straw flower wreaths have long been passé. Dried plants can of course be used to create beautiful, delicate arrangements that put a new light on the dried bouquet, but also on handicrafts. We would like to show you how to harvest your favourite flowers, dry them and prepare and arrange them in such a way that they bring joy into your everyday life even after summer has ended.

Flowers for the dry bouquet: Harvesting and drying correctly

The elements of the dry bouquet are cut in dry weather. This is best done in the late morning, when any dew has evaporated and the sun has not yet caused the flowers to wilt. Please take a close look at the flowers. You should cut lavender buds, for example, because flowered stems do not keep very long and crumble quickly after drying. The overview below is intended as a guide.

Don’t be afraid to experiment either. Some plants can be used in several stages of development: Peonies, for example, can be cut and dried when they are in bloom, or you can harvest their seeds later. The simplest way to preserve flowers is to dry them in the air. This should be done in an airy, dry and shady place.

Flowers with long stems are bundled and hung overhead. Small flower buds and loose petals are again placed on a frame covered with fleece or close-meshed fabric, while thick flower heads are placed individually in wire mesh.

After two to four weeks the plants will be dry and should then rustle when touched.

Tips for faster drying with silica gel

If you want to dry the flowers as quickly and colour-fast as possible, you can try silica gel. The small white sachets containing the gel are often found in many consignments and packages. You have probably already found them there. But silica is also available in craft shops. It ensures that moisture-sensitive products are protected from getting wet because it binds moisture. This also benefits you when drying flowers.

And this is how it works:

Place a two-centimetre layer of the highly water-attracting gel beads in a shallow dish. Place the flowers on top and then carefully cover with more globules of gel. Tip: The smaller the beads, the better the flower shape will be preserved.
Then close the container tightly. After two to three days, remove the gel and take out the plants. But be careful: If the flowers are left in the silica gel for too long, they will become brittle. 

Drying flowers with glycerine

But there are other ways to prepare flowers for a dried bouquet. Drying with glycerine, for example, preserves colours very well.

Proceed as follows:

Place the plants in a vase with glycerine-water (ratio 1:2) for about two weeks. Top up with liquid if necessary.
If glycerine droplets form on the leaves and flowers, the preservation is complete. 

This method is suitable for hydrangeas, for example, and especially for branches with fleshy fruits.
DIY: Pressing dried flowers for pictures and handicrafts

For picture frames or floral crafts filled with dried flowers, pressing flowers in a book is a good idea. Simply place cut flowers such as lavender in a thick book and, if necessary, stack a few more books on top to weigh it down. It is advisable to place some newspaper between the book pages to prevent the flowers from sticking easily and to avoid discolouration during pressing. The dried flowers can then be wonderfully placed in a frame after about 2 weeks. You can even create a dried bouquet arrangement in the frame.

Time to cut the flowers for the dry bouquet

Budded: lavender (Lavandula), globe thistle (Echinops), cardoon (Dipsacus), noble thistles such as alpine man thistle (Eryngium alpinum), ivory thistle (E. giganteum), lesser man thistle (E. planum), Spanish thistle (E. bourgatii), paper button (Ammobium alatum)

At the beginning of flowering: allium, liatris, limonium, paper flower (Xeranthemum annuum), strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum), crested sage (Salvia viridis).

Fully flowered: Yarrow (Achillea), Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla), Foxtail (Amaranthus), Celosia (Celosia), Drumstick (Craspedia globosa), Pearl basket (Anaphalis margaritacea), Statice (Goniolimon tataricum; when 2/3 of the flowers on the stem are open), baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata), delphinium (Delphinium), hydrangea (Hydrangea), sunwing (Helipterum), tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), shellflower (Moluccella laevis).

Immediately after flowering: seed set of common datura (Datura stramonium), grasses: quaking grass (Briza media), tufted feather grass (Stipa capillata), silver ear grass (Stipa calamagrostis), bulrush (Typha; not yet coloured)

After ripening: seeds and fruiting pods of lupine (Lupinus), poppy (Papaver; sufficiently woody), lampion flower (Physalis alkekengi), silverleaf (Lunaria annua), linseed (Linum), starry scabiosa (Scabiosa stellata)

Cut before opening the seed coats: Hogweed (Acanthus), Maiden in the Green (Nigella damascena).
Combining plants in a dried bouquet

Once the plants have dried, it is time to combine them in the dried bouquet. Basically, let your creativity run free, because you don’t have to pay attention to certain characteristics of the plants, such as the speed of growth. Only your taste counts here.

Arrangements of wildflowers in yellow and purple, such as with lavender and drumstick, look very pretty tied together with grasses and blend wonderfully into country-style interiors. Different grasses alone or together with yarrow or crested sage also make beautiful dry bouquets. Combinations of peonies, pampas grass and barley make tables shine. Try it out!

The proportions are also a matter of taste. It depends on how big the vase is or where it is to be placed. Dried flowers can also quickly look a little thin. With fresh bouquets, florists resort to binding greenery at this point. This works in a similar way for your dried bouquet.

Dried baby’s breath or statice can be used as a substitute for bouquets. Both plants have small flowers and therefore add volume. A little more restrained: dried foliage.
Decorate gifts and the like with dried flowers

Pictures with beautiful memories, books or good chocolates from your favourite confectionery shop – gift ideas should be presented in lovingly designed packaging. It will be especially beautiful if they are decorated with dried flowers or small dried bouquets.

These pretty packages can be wrapped in classic wrapping paper and decorated with various dried plants – flowery and romantic and very easy to make yourself.

Everyday objects such as this notebook in the picture can also be made into eye-catchers with a string and flowers. If photo books and the like are to be given as gifts with dried flowers attached and not just knotted shut, but also opened up, simple fixings with masking tape or similar are also an option.

In order not to make gifts and other florally designed objects too expansive, we recommend drying flowers in a book (see above).

You now have a pretty dried bouquet and are looking for more DIY ideas around the topic of dried flowers? Then you might be interested in our article on autumn wreath making.

We hope you enjoy creating your own!

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