Learning how to dry flowers will open up a world of possibilities! Here?s everything you need to know about drying flowers and 14 different ways to use dried flower petals.
Dried flower petals are the best way to preserve the beauty of the garden well into the cold winter months when our plants hibernate. I always have dried flower petals on hand to use for my , soaps, and other crafts.
To make sure I have enough, each summer I stock up on flowers. I want to ensure I have an entire rainbow at my disposal for the coming months. As different flowers bloom each week, I am out in my garden with a basket. I collect and snip the flowers until I have more grass trimmer_2468 than enough blooms. Since I like to experiment and give away handmade gifts, I can never have too many!
What Flowers Can You Dry?
While I wish every flower dried as lovely as it looks on the stem, not all flowers dry perfectly. When looking to dry flowers, you want ones that hold their colour and fragrance. A lot of it comes down to testing different flowers and seeing how they dry.
For instance, saliva flowers dry well and really hold their colour. However, the flowers shrink so much and become so tiny that it is not worth the trouble unless you have hundreds. Some of my favourite flowers to dry are:
How to Dry Flower Petals
When it comes to drying flower petals, there are a few methods that can be used. However, some will work better than others for different kinds of flowers. Once again, it?s all about experimenting!
Hang Upside Down
You?ve probably seen quite a few photos of this first method because of its Instagram worthy aesthetic. This popular method is to bundle the stems together and hang upside down. To dry flowers this way, you will want to hang them in a dark and cool room such as a closet that isn?t often used. If you aren?t going to be using the leaves, strip the stems bare before making bunches. I like to use string, twine, or wire to wrap my stems together and attach it to a hanger (see it in this photo?).
Flowers that are good for this method include lavender, roses, centuarea, echinacea, hops, and more. Some larger flowers such as roses may be better to be hung individually rather than in a bunch. One of my is to cover lavender bunches with a bag. This allows you to catch lavender buds as they fall, making gathering that much easier!
Dry Flowers in Water
I primarily use this method for as it helps to retain the bright pink and blue tones. Remove all the leaves and place the flowers in a vase with an inch or two of water. Place the flowers in a dark and cool room and simply wait for the water to slowly evaporate. This allows the flowers to dry slowly, helping to preserve the petals? colour.
Air Dry Flower Heads
Air drying flowers is great for flower heads that can easily pop off their stems such as calendula and chamomile. To do this method, pop off the heads of the flowers and discard the stems. Then, spread them out on a dish, tray, or drying rack and wait.
Once again, be sure to place these flowers out of direct sunlight while drying. For easy gathering and clean up, be sure to have a tray below that picks up any flowers that fall through a drying rack.
Drying flowers on a tray can also work if you just want individual flower petals and not the whole head. This method works great for larger flowers such as roses, centaurea, sunflower, bee balm (monarda), and .
Use a Dehydrator
If you are strapped for time, you can even use your at-home dehydrator if you have one. The process is the same as drying flower heads and petals on a tray, but instead, you are going to place them in your for 8-10 hours.
Be sure to place like flowers in the dehydrator so they all evenly dry or place larger flowers on the top rack as they will take the longest to completely dry. If all flowers are the same size, feel free to rotate the trays so the flowers evenly dry.
The last method for drying flowers is an old favourite! Pressing flowers is a great method for making personalized cards, framed flowers, and other creative artwork. To make pressed flowers, you can use a or a large book (phone books are great if you still have those kicking around!).
Place your flowers how you want them to dry between two pieces of newspaper or printer paper. This will prevent your flowers from sticking to the book pages and stamping them with colour. Squish them down and if using a book, place some extra books on top as weight.
Wait at least three weeks before you open up and check on your flowers. For perfectly pressed flowers, you can make a handmade flower press by .
Where to Buy Dried Flowers
Whether it?s due to space limitations or climate issues, some of us don?t have the capability to grow our own supply of flowers. That doesn?t mean you aren?t allowed to enjoy the beauty of dried flowers! There are tons of places where you can buy dried flowers. Here?s a short list:
If you?re wondering where to get started when it comes to purchasing flowers online, consider what you want dried flowers for. This on how to create your own herbal home apothecary is a great place to start.
What to do With Dried Flowers: 14 Dried Flower Projects
Now that you know how to dry flowers and what to look for when choosing your plants for drying, let?s talk about what to do with them. Once you begin experimenting, you?ll find that the possibilities are endless with these colorful creations. Here are some of my favourite ideas to try.
Beautiful Soap Toppers
Homemade soaps make a wonderful, customized gift. To make my soaps a true showstopper, dried flower petals oftentimes take center stage as the final touch. They are one of the easiest ways to decorate, add colour, and even enhance the smell of soaps. For my own soaps, I used dried wildflowers. Follow my steps and .
Melt And Pour Soaps
While dried flower petals sprinkled on top are lovely, you can also incorporate them directly into your soap. Melt and pour soaps are the easiest method for beginners, but that won?t stop your soaps from looking absolutely amazing. Check out how to with flowers inside.
Calendula has a beautiful golden hue to it and also works as an anti-inflammatory for the skin. Experiment with the garden and treat your skin by .
Bath bombs can make a bath go from simple and relaxing to fun-filled aromatherapy. Dried flowers are one of the best, natural ways to make a beautiful bath bomb. You can place a full flower on top or even sprinkle them on as a final decoration. Check out my full list of you can make yourself.
If baths aren?t your thing, shower steamers are the bath bomb made for shower lovers. If you haven?t tried it before, a shower steamer enhances your shower by filling it slowly with wonderful aromatherapy scents. You can find a .
Ditch the plug-ins and aerosols and add fragrance to your home naturally with aromatherapy wax melts. These cute make a cute gift or are lovely to have on hand when your home needs some freshening up.
If you don?t care for the aesthetic of flower petals and herbs floating in the bathtub, tub teas are a great alternative. You get the aromatherapy of the flowers without the cleanup. Here?s how you .
Perfect for beginners, bath salts are a super quick and easy way to get creative with dried flower petals. uses peony, but the flower options are endless!
After a long day, my sore and tired feet are always the first thing on my mind. I like to give them a little bit of extra loving with a , complete with dried flowers.
Did you know that rose is amazing for the skin? Coupled with its amazing scent, dried roses are definitely something you want to have on hand for skincare recipes. Here?s how I use mine to .
Some pressed flowers are just so lovely they need to be framed! Pressed flowers are extremely delicate and framing them definitely takes a careful hand. and steps and you?ll have beautifully framed flowers.
Dried Flower Arrangements
A flower arrangement is one of the best ways to brighten up your living space and bring nature indoors. While fresh flowers are beautiful, they only last for so long. Preserve the beauty of your garden inside your home and make it last by creating dried flower arrangements. See all the steps on how to .
Using dried flowers to create a wreath makes a gorgeous and long-lasting decoration perfect for spring and summer. Follow my steps on how to or give my a try.
Flowers can be so much more than beauty. This echinacea tincture helps to boost immunity and reduce symptoms during cold and flu season. Make your own and learn how to .
And there you have it! The gorgeous colours of dried flower petals are lovely to hand for beauty recipes, DIYs, and crafts, but they also stand out on their own in glass jars. If you?re like me, once you start drying flower petals, you won?t be able to stop!
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Gardening for depression is a proven therapy that works! Here?s a bit about horticultural therapy, and how getting out into nature has been a life-changing part of my own healing from depression.
The garden has many lessons for us. While you may see a strong leaf or flower, it all began with a tiny seed. That seed had to grow roots and push through dirt before it ever saw a hint of sunlight. It can survive through drought, a lack of proper nutrients, and minimal sun. Plants are resilient and strong, growing oftentimes when we thought it was never possible.
Humans too are strong and resilient, but like plants, we also face many challenges in order to grow and succeed. According to the World Health Organization, ?Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.? It affects all genders, cultures, incomes, and ages.
Depression by the Numbers
The Canadian Mental Health Association states, ?Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.? They also say, ?by age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.?
Numbers in the USA are similar. The National Institute of Mental Health citing 7.1% of US adults experiencing at least 1 major depressive episode. These are major numbers affecting many Canadians and Americans. Whether you know it or not, there are people all around us experiencing depression and other mental illnesses.
Everyone copes differently with depression. Some seek help from trained health professionals and others use medication. Some turn to friends and family, while others busy themselves. However someone wants to seek help is completely valid; what is important is that they?re seeking help and wanting to get better.
But what I want to talk about today is how gardening, nature, and horticultural therapy can aid in the treatment of depression.
My History of Dealing with Depression
In my mid-twenties, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I was feeling sad and hopeless, despite my life seeming to be pretty great on the surface. What people couldn?t see was the hard childhood I survived through. When I seemingly had myself together as a young adult, I slowed down survival mode enough to feel some of those hard feelings.
It came on quickly, but I didn?t quite notice it like you do a virus or broken bone. I was lucky that a dear friend pointed out that I seemed sad. So, I went to my family doctor for help. She prescribed anti-depressants, the , and to get out into nature daily. I was feeling much more like myself in only six months, but I know that many folks struggle with it for years, decades even.
I finished the meds and the handbook but kept nature as part of my life. Although I admit, it got away from me for a bit of time. As I graduated from school, got married, bought a house, and worked in my corporate job, I was in that rat race that kept me a bit too busy for nature time.
The Beginnings of Garden Therapy
Then, as you may know from my story of , I became suddenly and severely disabled overnight. I had to stop working and could barely get out of bed.
And guess who came back? Yep, my old friend, depression. This time, I was situationally depressed, as opposed to clinically, meaning that the loneliness and fear of my life getting turned upside down was the clear cause. So, I opted to skip the anti-depressants and change my situation instead with horticultural therapy.
I remembered my doctors advice: to get out into nature daily. Since I was physically limited in what I could do, I went out into my yard. I used the space just beyond my door to learn how to garden and connect with nature. I started this blog as a way to meet other people who were passionate about the healing powers of gardens to combat my loneliness.
It worked like a dream! But now, even all these years later, I still find myself getting a bit blue if I don?t take time to slow down and plant/smell/pick the flowers. I make time for gardening every day. I have aso logged my ideas for gardening as therapy since 2009 on the pages of this website in order to maintain mental wellness.
More than anything, I?m grateful to have met all the people that share this passion for healing and gardens. Through this blog and my horticultural therapy, I?ve made lifelong friends and have turned writing about garden therapy into my full-time job.
Gardening for Depression and Horticultural Therapy
What I?ve noticed over the years is that more and more, people are beginning to turn to gardening as a wellness activity. Around 57% of the total population of Canada gardens, 40% in the UK, and 1 in 3 people in the US. Many studies have shown what I experienced: that frequent contact with nature and the outdoors have a lasting effect on people?s mental health. Whether it?s farming, gardening, or a walk outside, I?m sure you have experienced the calming effects of the outdoors as well.
There is an official term for using the garden as a therapy practice. Horticultural therapy (also called therapeutic horticulture) is when people engage in gardening or plant-based activities facilitated by a trained therapist to aid in their recovery and goals.
That is not what I do here on Garden Therapy. I?m not trained at horticultural therapy. However, the projects and ideas that I share on this website have been used in many therapy programs around the world. My ideas are laid out in a way they are easy for folks to replicate, but the concept is nothing new.
Before horticultural therapy was defined, many state hospitals in the USA actually had crops on hospital grounds. Since many patients in the hospitals farmed, working on the crops was familiar to them and provided them with comfort. Later on, legislation said a patient could not work while being in the hospital and this opportunity was taken away. People no longer could get outside and enjoy the fresh air, instead, staying inside watching TV.
Horticultural Therapy for Depression is Proven (and not just by me)
While gardening is a great hobby that (of course) I highly recommend, it has been proven to help with depression. focused on individuals with clinical depression and had them prepare gardening beds, plant seeds, and cultivate plants over 12 weeks. At the end of the program and 3 months later, the severity of the depression was significantly reduced. 96% of the participants said that the experience working with the plants was meaningful.
focused on individuals with disabilities and gardening for depression. It found that those who participated in gardening 4 to 6 times a week had lower overall depression index scores. Lifetime gardeners had significantly lower depression scores than non-gardeners with an average of 2.7 fewer depression points.
Most of us may not officially be participating in horticultural therapy with a trained therapist. However, we are doing it on our own every time we step into our gardens. The physicality of gardening has us outside and working our limbs in many different ways. There are social benefits every time we garden with a friend or connect with a stranger about our shared passion for plants. There are proven physiological benefits to being outside with nature and connecting with plants.
How Gardening Boosts Our Spirits
Did you know that getting down and dirty while gardening is actually good for you? Getting in contact with specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, can actually activate the release of serotonin in the brain. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression as well and that the soil bacteria actually act in a similar way to antidepressants.
But it doesn?t just stop at the soil; there is also a proven ?harvest high? every time a gardener harvests fruits, vegetables, or herbs. The hypothesis is that over thousands of years as humans have evolved, hunting and gathering meant survival. If you found something to feed you, you felt happy and relieved. Harvesting actually triggers dopamine in the brain, providing an immediate feeling of joy.
It?s cool to think that every time we pull a carrot up or , our brains are actually receiving these happy chemicals. Long after these harvests bring that initial joy, they remain a comfort in my life. From to using fresh herbs year long, with the idea of enjoying them during every season. Every time I don?t have to go to the grocery store for an ingredient because I grew it myself gives me a ton of pride and satisfaction at being as self-sustaining as possible.
Grow Healing Gardens
Beyond eating my harvests, I planted to sustain my home apothecary. I make , from healing salves and bug bite treatments to soaps and lotions. But I also grow herbs to aid me with other issues, such as , , , and many more.
What you grow in the garden itself can make a huge difference. Whether it is growing your own healing garden, a huge plot full of veggies, or a backyard teeming with beautiful blooms, grow whatever makes you happy.
Gardening teaches us a growth mindset. The next time you see a flower growing through concrete, think about its resiliency. It is surviving despite all the difficult conditions the world has thrown at it. In order to achieve a great harvest, there is a lot of time, patience, and care that goes into its success.
Just like the garden, we can?t expect our friends, families, or even ourselves to have instant results or joy. Depression is a very treatable illness that often goes unnoticed by others. There is no shame in seeking help and proper treatment. If you or someone you know may be experiencing depression, I encourage you to consult with a healthcare professional. Together we can break the stigma and together we can get help.