As one who lives in a state that twice annually provides its’ residents and visitors alike with an exquisite and lovely demonstration of the change of seasons I always look forward to the first signs of spring and the first, frosty hint of fall.
It would be difficult for me to favor one season over the other.
I love springtime as the cold and dreary boredom of winter gives way to blue skies, warmer temperatures, and green lawns now filled with the return of chirping Robins. At the foot of budding trees early spring flowers including crocuses and daffodils make their first appearance. Soon an array of brightly colored trees and flowers will dominate the landscape. Red and yellow tulips and pastel colored pink and blue hydrangeas will blend in with pink and white dogwoods to present a wonderland of color. As everything in nature seems to come alive with this change of season so too do we as spring revives and renews us with new-found energy.
As spring gives way to summer and the long months of excessive heat and humidity I find myself looking forward to the cooling temperatures of fall. As the leaves begin to fade from dark green to colorful shades of orange, yellow and red and the dogwoods once so beautifully adorned in white a pink springtime blossoms now retire gracefully with show of leaves of crimson I realize that both of these seasons conduct unparalleled displays of color that only mother nature can provide.
I have come to realize that is this wonderful array of colors that make the spring and fall seasons so special. In spring we have always enjoyed taking hydrangea cuttings to fill vases with large pastel blue and pink flowers, some as large as ten inches in diameter.
Recently we have discovered that Mother Nature provides us with an equal opportunity for a rich and vibrant color display of hydrangeas in the fall.
As the hydrangea flower fades in the fall it presents strikingly beautiful shades of amber, pink and lavender. Once sufficiently dried of moisture these blooms can be cut, pruned and arranged into lovely bouquets that can be displayed in decorative vases to provide exquisite color to any room throughout the winter season.
There are many techniques recommended for removing moisture from cut flowers in order to use threes as a dried flower display. Some of these get very involved and require the careful packing of newly cut flowers in chemicals such as Borax to extract all of the moisture from the bloom.
To be fair these techniques produce the most vivid colors in dried flowers, but I have found that allowing the flower to dry on the plant until the desired color shade is reached before taking the cutting provides an equally beautiful alternative.
My procedure is as follows:
Targeting the most vigorous of my hydrangea plants and those with the larger flowers I begin a daily watch once the flowers begin to fade. I cover these selected flowers with a plastic bag of the required size. This is to prevent wind or other threats from damaging the bloom.
Once the flowers reach the shade and color I prefer I use a very sharp knife to cut the flowers from the plant leaving a stem ten to twelve inches in length, and remove leaves from the bottom four inches. I then seal the stem cut with clear nail polish and let it dry before arranging the multi-colored blooms in an attractive vase.
These beautiful arrangements hold their color and bloom integrity for the entire winter and add unmatched color to every room in my house. They are only replaced when new hydrangea flowers make their appearance in the following spring.
I have found using a simple technique to display dried flowers is a wonderfully pleasing way to ‘recycle’ flowers.