Preservation is an act of hope. It is an act of strength and will. It is an act of organization, good planning and looking to the future.
Here, Christy Russell from Jackson teaches us how to dry flowers, a traditionally female activity we want to pass on and preserve. We hope her dedication to craft and sharing of her knowledge encourages you to try your hand at this pursuit, too.
Christy Russell, owner of Farm Fresh Produce, moved with her husband, Dave, and their son, Adam, from Cape Girardeau to a rural area outside of Jackson in November 2015, to pursue gardening and farming. It was around this time that Russell also began drying flowers, which she jokes was a result of “too much Pinteresting.” Russell grows her own flowers in her yard, hoop houses and hardening house, selling fresh-cut flowers and produce at the Cape Riverfront Market. Drying the flowers preserves their color so Russel can make projects such as paperweights, wreaths and suncatchers with the flowers.
Here, she teaches us how to dry flowers, too.
-Wooden flower press or heavy, flat objects such as books (Just make sure you’re okay with the books being ruined.)
Use this process for flat flowers.
- Using a pair of scissors, cut off most of the flower’s stem. The stem holds water and will keep the flowers from drying well.
- Place a coffee filter on one layer of the wooden press. Lay one to three de-stemmed flowers on it. Cover with a second coffee filter.
- Tighten the next layer of the wooden press on top of the flowers to press them between the boards. Leave the flowers to dry for one to two weeks, when they will be ready to add beauty to your project of choice.
Silica Gel Process:
Use this process for bigger flowers that you want to retain their 3D shape.
- Using scissors, de-stem the flower, cutting as much of the stem off as possible.
- Fill the bottom of a pint jar with two to three inches of silica gel.
- Place the flower you are drying into the jar on top of the silica gel.
- Fill the silica gel in around the flower, adding the gel until the flower is completely submerged and no longer visible.
- Let the flower sit in the jar for a few days, until it is dried out and ready to use in a project.
Christy’s Pro Tips:
-To retain the most color, take the flowers out of the water at their peak.
-Don’t open the press to check on the flowers for at least one to two weeks; each time the press is opened, the flowers move around and will not press as cleanly.
-Strip any bruised petals off the flower before drying; if not stripped away, the bruise will show on the dried flower, too.
-The more humid it is outside, the longer it will take the flowers to dry. Be patient!