Drying And Mounting Flowers

Drying And Mounting Flowers

One should always tie all bunches tightly because as the stems dry they shrink and unless held tightly they will slip from the bunch. They should be hung, heads downwards, in a cool, dry and shady place. Never dry flowers in the sun.

Helichrysums or strawdaisies can offer problems. The flowers themselves are quite the loveliest daisies when properly dried. It would be useful if we could keep the flowers on their stripped stems. Certainly arrangement would be simpler, but it is only occasionally that this works successfully. Once dried the stems are likely to become so brittle that the heads snap off as they are being arranged. These need not be wasted, for once detached they can be mounted on false stems. Long florist’s wires are best for this purpose but wiring and mounting is not easy until you have had plenty of practice. One makes a tiny hook in one end of the wire and the other end is pushed down through the centre of the daisy from above and gently pulled until the hook is embedded and almost hidden in the flower’s centre.

Quite the best method is to wire and mount the flowers while they are still soft and fresh. Have ready some long florist’s wires, 20 or 22 gauge as they used to be known but now classified as 0-90 mm and 0-71 mm respectively. You can buy these wires from some florists and some hardware stores. Snip most of the stem from each flower leaving just a short butt of about 1 in. Insert one end of the wire up inside the stem. It should enter quite easily if the stem is still soft and succulent. Gently but firmly push it on up into the hard centre of the flower. Do not push it so far that it comes through the centre and shows. Your flower now has a stem but it still must be dried.

If you were to tie the wires in a bundle you would bend them which is not desirable. It is much better to stand them well spread out in wide-topped containers allowing a little space between each bloom. I find the best method is to use heavy bowls or large flower pots, each filled with a block of dry foamed plastic. The wires can then be very easily spaced. Once again the flowers must dry in a cool, dry and shady place such as the spare room until they are crisp to the touch and rustle like straw. Treated this way, once dried they are all ready to arrange. You can cover the wires with a stem tape if you wish. Crepe paper cut into narrow strips is ideal for this purpose but it is not usually necessary. Once arranged, the other perpetuelles should hide the wires quite effectively. The wires are matt, not shiny and so are inconspicuous in an arrangement.

If you do use tape begin applying it right up under the flower and then take it down the wire as you rotate it between finger and thumb in such a way that the tape spirals, covering the wire as it goes. Use a touch of adhesive to hold the end in place, both under the flower and at the base of the wire.

There are many other pretty little everlastings such as acrocliniums and rhodanthe but these are not often to be found on sale and you will have to grow them yourself. These can be left on their stems for they are quite tough as a rule. If their stems are not long enough for the arrangement in which they are to be used they can be mounted on florist’s wires either singly or in small bunches.

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