Autumn is the season that steals my heart year after year. With the warm tones and cooler weather, I savor almost every transition, with the exception of the loss of our favorite summer blooms. The vibrant colors and beautiful arrangements bring life to our homes, which can feel lost with the season change. What many people don’t think to do is to dry their beloved blooms before they wilt. With a little bit of forethought, you can hold on to your garden treasures for years to come. I have shared with you in years past my dried flower arrangements that I have in my home. My mother made them for me and I treasure them.
I was thrilled to see in our new issue of The Cottage Journal, an article about the history of dried flowers. Here is a little bit of what they learned:
“For everyone who regrets letting summer go, there is a solution. With a pair of scissors and a little forethought, the embers of summer can endure to perk up your home with their sprightly brilliance throughout the year. When the last rose of summer is withering and the final flowers in the garden are slowly bowing out, dried flowers are mementos of a past season. Make a few snips now, and those flowers will be with you forever.
Exactly when the scheme for drying flowers began, nobody knows. But the tradition undoubtedly has deep roots. For as long as civilizations have been growing flowers, gardeners have sought to preserve their glory. Dried flowers were found in Egyptian tombs as proof that the art of preserving occurred at the time of the Pharaohs. Much later, the Victorians practiced flower drying as an art form, using dried flowers in jewelry and shadowboxes. Nowadays, all sorts of means expedite drying flowers. But originally, the easiest method of preserving flowers indefinitely was to grow plants with petals that refuse to fall.
Sometimes their names reveal the durability of flowers that never fade. Strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum), pearly everlastings (Anaphalis margaritacea), and immortelles (Helichrysum arenarium) are all obvious candidates. Several herbs such as lavender, oregano, yarrow, and tansy hold their color when the flowers are dried. In addition, globe amaranth, globe thistle, statice, safflowers, marigolds, echinops, and hydrangeas look lovely long after the plants come and go, if you preserve them properly.”
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I, too, dried flowers in the late 60’s with a product called Silica Gel.
I would layer & cover my flowers (alot of pansies) in old metal cookie tins.
It worked every time, and the colors stayed true to themselves.
I can not wait for Autumn. Autumn means juicy Macintosh apples and sweet Anjou pears. The leaves turn beautiful colors and there is a stringent smell of burning leaves in the air. When you walk on the fallen leaves it crunches under your feet. The flower arrangement you have pictured is lovely. I also look forward to the Fall magazines. They are so inspiring.
Thank you for all the lovely magazines you publish.
I love the season of Autumn. The stores are full of Fall products and the weather is fresh and invigorating. There is nothing like the colors of Autumn.
Autumn is my favorite season , the colors are so bright and beautiful and the air is crisp.
Could not tell from the picture that this was a dried flower arrangement! Stunning! I usually only dry lavender so as to later make sachets. I think some flowers definitely lend themselves to drying, more so than others. Thank you for sharing the history of this craft.
Autumn can’t come fast enough for me, like, you, it steals my heart every time. The lovely dried cockscomb and hydrangeas dry so beautifully, and, as if they already knew when they would be on display inside, change their colors ever so slightly to have a more autumn tint!
Hi Phyllis, love the change of all seasons but those first days of autumn when the air has that earthly smell and cool snap is a favorite. Love bridging the seasons with dried arrangements. Very pretty arrangement. Thank you..
Goodness, I haven’t dried flowers in sand for years! I began that hobby back in 1967 and used to do it every year. Somehow I got out of the habit. Now I only air dry some roses and baby’s breath out of florist bouquets. I have never purchased the commercial drying compound. Have any of our faithful readers used it? Also, Thank You Phyllis for the delicious sounding corn bread recipe. I will use it the next time I prepare a batch.
When I returned from vacation, the deep pink spray roses I had enjoyed for a week before I left had dried in the vase. I removed them from the crystal vase, put them in an antique silver one, and the contrast was beautiful. I’m still enjoying them!