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Which flowers to choose
Not all floral species are suitable to be dried and transformed into compositions and centerpieces. When you decide to get some, it is therefore better to choose between daisies, lavender, roses, hydrangeas, mimosa, violets, thistles, ornamental garlic, hydrangeas and rushes. The important thing is not to choose succulent plants, or other species that are very beautiful, but contain a lot of water, such as tulips or orchids: the water contained in them makes the drying process very difficult. Indeed, they often rot (just because they have a lot of water) before they dry out.
A tip: also get twigs loaded with leaves or berries, which will serve to embellish and make your dried flower compositions unique. For this purpose, ivy sprigs, spikes, aromatic plants, oak leaves and other trees with broad leaves are very suitable (do not choose sprigs of evergreen trees, such as firs). In order to create more complex compositions, we also recommend the use of moss, which contains a lot of humidity, and whose drying process is rather slow. Adding pine cones, acorns or other berries will make any composition you want to prepare even more beautiful.
Once the species we want to dry to create our compositions have been chosen, we need to proceed with the collection. Also in this case, there are some rules to follow, because the operation leads to a final success. First of all, the harvest should not be done after a rain or storm: the flowers that we will take will in fact be wet and full of water, which will make the drying process more difficult, and that could even cause them to rot. So choose some nice warm days, after a time when it hasn't rained. The ideal for this type of operation is late spring: the flowers available are many and of many varieties, and the temperature is suitable for harvesting. Go and collect the flowers preferably in the hottest hours of the afternoon, when the humidity contained within the flowers is at a minimum. These are also the hours in which the flowers are in full bloom, and the corollas are open: you can thus ascertain without any problem the presence of any lesions or dark spots. It is of fundamental importance to pay attention to the conditions in which the flowers we wish to collect are: do not take specimens that show lesions or spots, which could be symptoms of fungus attacks or other pathologies. In the event that one of these is in fact affected by some fungus, he would also transmit it to others. For harvesting, use scissors (better if gardening): take care to cut the stems down, leaving them long. This will facilitate the subsequent drying operation.
Once collected, they must be dried. There are several techniques for doing this, and some are suitable for a home environment. The first is the most well-known, and consists in hanging the flowers upwards. First you need to remove the leaves along the stem, then divide the flowers into small bunches (about seven or eight flowers each). The bouquets must be tied with a straw or raffia thread: this material makes it possible to tie the flowers tightly without ruining the stems. The bunches must be hung in a cool, dry room without too much light. Essential is the fact that they are hung upside down: in this way the petals will remain flat, and will prevent them from being ruined. Attention: many think that to dry the various types of flowers it is better to expose them to direct sunlight. In reality, this is a wrong procedure, which will ruin the plants, causing them to dry without drying them. The types of flower thus dried will in fact be unusable for compositions and other uses, because they will not be manageable.
How to dry flowers: Drying with sand
The procedure for drying flowers explained above is undoubtedly the simplest: but if you prefer, it is also possible to dry the species that we like best with another system. In this case, you need to get a large box that contains the flowers (preferably tin) and sand (better if fine). The sand must be placed on the bottom of the box, forming a layer a few centimeters high. Above must be placed the flowers, which must be covered with more sand. The box must then be placed in the sun (or on a radiator) for a couple of days.
For small flowers or loose petals (which can be used to create scent-linens and put-pourri) another technique is to insert them between the pages of a well closed book, which will act as a press and, in a few days, will dry. the petals to perfection.