Do you have a floral scent hanging around your home today? If you received Valentine’s Day flowers from a boyfriend, husband or secret admirer, you are no doubt enjoying the beauty and breathing in the wonderful smell. Whether it’s a bouquet or one single-stemmed rose, flowers are one of the best things about the holiday.
Too bad you can’t make the beauty last forever.
Well, you can.
Preserving flowers is actually really easy. You don’t need a lot of special materials, and the few materials you do need are very inexpensive.
There are three ways to preserve your Valentine’s Day flowers: air-drying, pressing and drying with a desiccant. In each method, the flowers must be preserved when they are at peak color. Flowers continue to unfold a bit as they dry, so flowers even slightly past peak will not dry as well as those nicely at the top of their health.
All materials in a bouquet can be dried. If your roses, for example, came with ferns and baby’s breath, or tulips and lilies combined in a riotous display, you can preserve them all. Flowers dry in the same form they have while in a vase. If some blossoms are slightly misshapen, or some ferns or baby’s breath slightly bent, they will dry that way. Cull these before preserving.
Pressing is also very simple. It’s a good method for individual flowers. Small flat flowers or plants, like violets or ferns, work best with pressing.
Voila! A pressed flower.
Drying with a desiccant involves burying the flowers in a material that will dry them out, like silica gel. You remove them from the desiccant when they are dry.
Desiccant drying works best with flowers, like roses, that have large petals. Don’t try this with a bouquet in its original form. You can dry individual flowers together in a box, but separate them from each other.
This method requires the most special materials, but they are inexpensive. Get silica gel at a garden center or craft store. It is a granular material, something like sand, so you are not actually looking for a gel. You will also need large airtight containers — the kind used for food storage in a fridge.
The cost advantage to silica gel is that it is reusable. Once you dry Valentine’s Day flowers, you can reuse the gel for winter holiday flowers or bridal party bouquets.
One of the best reasons to dry your flowers is that you can remember this special holiday for many years to come, but you also aren’t contributing to the monumental waste that Valentine’s Day can generate with the mass purchase of cards, flowers, candy, and other presents. You don’t need to be a home decor expert either to decorate with preserved flowers! Use them as part of a craft project or gaze at the preserved flowers in a pretty vase. Dried flowers in a vase are a great accent on your kitchen table or on a hearth.
To emphasize the “memento” quality of your flowers, combine them with vintage photographs and other keepsakes, such as charm bracelet charms or a locket. Arrange these on your wall in a glass case or artistically displayed on the wall itself.
Drying your Valentine’s Day bouquet through one of these methods will keep the memories of the holiday with you. It’s a sweet and quick way of retaining the beauty for years to come.