Monday, October 3, 2011

{preparing hydrangeas for a fall display}

Well hello again!

If you can't tell already (especially after me blogging for over three years) you know I have a huge obsession with the season fall. Something about it just makes me SO happy. And one of those things is gathering fall flowers to dry and arrange for around the house, livening up some of those dreary months of winter up ahead.

Thankfully, my almost hubby's garden is overflowing with the most dramatic and stunning hydrangeas you have ever seen! (I know... how lucky am I to have a guy with a green thumb? ) Anyway, yesterday I spent part of the morning going through the changing blooms and snipping them to dry for the wedding less then three weeks away (pic attached). There are a few tips though that make drying hydrangeas a snap!

The secret to perfectly dried hydrangeas is very simple. Wait until they are ready before picking them. The timing is much more important than the method one uses to dry them.
While it is tempting to cut the hydrangea blossoms for drying at the height of their color, this doesn't work. Fresh, recently opened blooms, rarely dry well in the open air. Hydrangeas do best when allowed to dry on the plant before picking them (believe me... I learned the hard way once). Experiment with harvesting from August through October.

Cutting the blooms is realy easy too. I like my stems long so that I can arrange them easier. Otherwise, you are arranging little puff balls and it's rather awkward. While you are snipping near the base, strip the leaves at the same time. I usually keep a bag next to me where I can feed them into while I'm working (they go into the compost bin afterward) then I arrange the blooms on their stalks in a laundry basket (you'll be surprised how quickly you run out of room with that many blossoms.) After you have cut all the stems that you like, give them a little jiggle to remove any buggies before bringing them inside. Then, get a large container something that has some natural weight to it (I used a vintage glass pitcher) and arrange them naturally without water. They will try on their own in about a week or two. On a side note, make sure that they aren't in a window with full sun. The blooms will wilt and then won't dry as nicely. Just put them in a shady corner or better yet a dry corner of your basement and then bring them up when they are ready.
In the south, hydrangeas usually age to a blushing green color and then pick up shades of pink and burgundy as Fall approaches. In the cooler areas of the world, they seem to age to shades of blue and purple. They are both equally beautiful to me, but very different. Here in Duluth, the hydrangeas turn a lovely shade of burgundy and cream with purpley and bluey-green highlights. SO lovely.
So there you go, a fool proof way of cutting and setting hydrangeas to decorate your house for fall and winter! Have any questions? Just let me know. I'd love to help you with ideas.


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