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~The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer to God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth~

Drying and preserving flowers was an obsession with the Victorians, who took materials not in only from their gardens but the sea-shores as well. They were experts at drying sea-weeds (washing and pressing it between sheets of paper). Beautiful pictures were made and the colors of different sea-weeds skillfully contrasted.

Some of the methods of drying and preserving plant material are:
pansyGLYCERINE - This is a simple and easy process. Make a solution with 1 part glycerine and 2 parts very hot water directly into the container you plan to use. Mix well with a wooden spoon. A glass bottle or jar is useful as the depth of the solution should be 5cm (2 in.) . You also need a shallow dish or pan to immerse certain flowers and leaves which do not absorb too well from their stem ends.
Immerse the stems into the solution. They absorb the warm solution easily but can take from 3 days to 6 weeks, depending on the species. The progress of the glycerine up into the leaves is visible, so its not difficult to determine when the process is finished. If the tips of the branches have sagged, then hang them upside down for a few days to allow the glycerine to reach the tips.
Glycerine turns leaves brown as it replaces the water they once contained. The feel is almost the same as they did before the treatment and they are glossy and flexible.
The solution can be used and reused. Do not worry if it turns dark in colour. If mildew forms then strain it !

pansy Flowers suitable for this method are:
pansy Beech
pansy Camellia
pansy Ferns
pansy Hydrangea
pansy Iris seedpods
pansy Ivy
pansy Lime flowers
pansy Magnolia
pansy Oak
pansy Rose
pansy Rubber plant
pansy Sea holly flowers
pansy Sweet chestnut
pansy Teasels

pansy AIR DRYING - This is the easiest and most popular way of drying flowers. Instead of replacing water in the plant, the object of air drying is to eliminate all water.
Gather a small bunch of flowers, tie them together and hang them upside down a warm, dry, dark area. For wide-headed flowers a box with a piece of chicken wire on it can hold the flower heads open while they dry.

pansy Flowers suitable for this method are:

pansy Allium (onion & related plants)
pansy Celosia
pansy Chinese lantern
pansy Delphiniums
pansy Globe
pansy Hydrangea
pansy Iris
pansy Lavender
pansy Larkspur
pansy Poppy
pansy Pussy willow
pansy Pampass grass
pansy Queen Anne's Lace
pansy Sea holly
pansy Thistle

pansy PRESSING - This method is chiefly used to prepare plant material for incorporation into pressed flower pictures. First cut off the stems. Have either a flower press (sold in craft shops) or a large book and carefully place the flowers between two sheets of blotting paper. There should be no creasing or over-lapping. Stems and leaves should be dried seperately.

pansy PRESSING WITH DESICCANTS - This means burying the plant material in a substance which will draw all moisture from the plant. This way they retain their natural forms and shapes and their colouring.

pansy SILICA GEL - This material will dry the flower by absorbing up to 40 percent of it weight in water. It can be used in the oven or microwave. Cover the base of a microwave-safe container with silica gel crystals or powder (powder is best for delicate blooms). Layer the flowers face down on the gel, then just as gently cover the blooms with more silica. Don't pile it on or the blooms could be damaged.
Put the uncovered container into the microwave with a cup of water next to it. Microwave on high for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the delicacy of the flowers. Leave until the flowers are cool then remove and shake off the silica. The results are superb !

pansy Flowers suitable for this method are:

pansy Ageratum
pansy Aster
pansy Bells of Ireland
pansy Candytuft
pansy Calendula
pansy Cosmos
pansy Daisies
pansy Dahlia
pansy Snapdragon

pansy BORAX - Make a mixture of 1 part borax and 1 part cornmeal. Cover the bottom of a box (suit box is a good size) with a thin layer of the mixture and then place the flower face up. Sift on more of the mixture and place the box in a dry dark place until blooms are completely dehydrated.

pansy Flowers suitable for this method are:

pansy Chrysanthemum
pansy Dahlia
pansy Daisy
pansy Marigold
pansy Shasta
pansy Zinnia

pansy SAND - Small hardy flowers can be dried using sand. Sift fine, dry sand through a flour sifter. Strip off all the foliage. Put a couple of inches of dry sand in a box and hold blossoms upside down on sand. Gently pour on sand until the blossoms are covered. Stems need not be covered. Place in the sun to bake. Flowers should be dry in a day or two.

pansy Flowers suitable for this method are:

pansy Zinnias
pansy Marigolds
pansy Pansies
pansy Pompom chrysanthemums

pansy FREEZE DRYING - Freeze drying consists of dehydrating tissue while it is frozen. Depending upon the age and the season of the flower being treated, in most cases satisfactory drying has been obtained.
Research into the process of freeze drying began at the British Museum (Natural History) in the late 1950s. After some setbacks suitable apparatus was developed and at the present time a full service of freeze drying for both plant and animal material is provided.

pansy Malaysian flowers generated RM54 million in earnings for the country in 1994, out of which RM1.6 million came from the sale of dried flowers.

pansy Have fun experimenting !!!



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