Cutting gardens are all the rage this season. There is something about growing flowers for the pure beauty of it that is just magical. While fresh flowers in the garden or cut and placed in a vase are gorgeous, they are, unfortunately, impermanent. You can preserve the delicate beauty of the flower garden by pressing your favorite blossoms and displaying them in frames. This is a wonderful gift idea and a lovely way to preserve flowers that have a special meaning (perhaps those that were once in a wedding bouquet or commemorate another important event). Read on to learn how to frame pressed flowers and which blooms to choose.
Chris McLaughlin?s beautiful new book, , is a celebration of the gorgeous heritage flower varieties that people have treasured for generations. The book is filled with lush photography, tips on how to grow an heirloom flower garden, and a ton of simple DIY projects for getting crafty with the flowers you grow. Chris has been kind enough to share her tutorial on the best way to frame pressed flowers, along with a list of the best heirloom varieties for pressing.
How to Frame Pressed Flowers
By Chris McLaughlin
How special is it when the botanical art in your home comes from the flowers in your heirloom garden? Remove flower heads from the plant in the late morning on a dry day. By 11:00 a.m., the dew will have evaporated, yet the afternoon sun will not have had time to wilt the flowers.
Heirloom flowers that press well include:
- Calendula (Calendula spp.)
- California poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
- Chocolate daisy (Berlandiera lyrata)
- Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
- Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
- Dahlias (Dahlia spp.)
- Delphiniums (Delphinium spp.)
- French marigolds (Tagetes spp.)
- Japanese anemone (Anemone japonica)
- Johnny-jump-ups (Viola tricolor)
- Larkspur (Consolida ajacis)
- Nicotiana (Nicotiana alata)
- Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
- Zinnias (Zinnia spp.)
Pressing Flowers Using Books
Open the first third of a large, thick book. Lay a piece of printer paper on one of the pages and place flowers on the printer page so they are not touching. Flowers with thick centers, such as marigold, dahlia, and zinnia, should have their petals pulled free from the heads before placing them in the book. Don?t forget to write the name of the flowers at the bottom of the paper.
Place another piece of paper over the flowers you just laid out so that they are now sandwiched between both sheets. Carefully grab the next one-third of the book pages and close it so that the flowers are sandwiched between the printer paper and book pages. Repeat the process using the same book.
Keep the pressed flowers evenly weighted by placing more books (or a cinderblock) on top of the pressed flower book. In two to three weeks, carefully open the book and remove your dried, pressed flowers.
A Simple Way to Frame Pressed Flowers
Framing pressed flowers so they become unique art pieces for the home is so simple, you?ll want to make several more for gift giving. Have a variety of decorative paper on hand both for gluing the flowers onto, as well as a larger, background sheet that ?frames? the art.
- Decorative sheets of paper
- Pressed flowers
- Small bowl
Remove the glass from the picture frame.
With a ruler, measure the back of the picture frame and make sure that the paper you?d like to use as a background is the same size.
If the frame is a different size, use the ruler and the scissors to cut the paper so it fits properly. You can glue the flowers onto this paper or you can use this paper to ?frame? a smaller piece of paper that has the glued flowers.
If you choose to use a paper that fits the frame, as well as a smaller one that has the flowers, you?ll need to cut the one that will have the flowers on it about 1 inch smaller than the larger paper on all sides.
Choose the flowers you?ll use to create your botanical art piece. You might use various flowers that are all the same color tones. You could choose just two or three flowers, or just one type of flower. You could place the flowers separately or lay them on one another to look like a bouquet.
Using the tweezers, arrange the flowers on the paper until you?re happy with the design.
Squeeze glue from the bottle into the small bowl for easy access.
Pick up the flowers with the tweezers and use a toothpick to place a small spot of glue on the back of a flower. Glue the flower onto the paper.
After you have finished creating the design, let the glue dry overnight. Then put the frame back together with the flower art inside.
Excerpted from ? Chris McLaughlin, 2018. Used with permission from Cool Springs Press. Photography by Nadeen Flynn.
Cool Springs Press has generously provided a copy to give away to one of our readers. Simply leave a comment on this post by June 13th, 2018 to enter and be sure you are signed up for our to get news and special offers we don?t share anywhere else. This contest is open to residents of the continental US and Canada, except Quebec and where prohibited.
About the Author
Chris McLaughlin is a writer and author whose hands have been in the soil for nearly 40 years. She became a Master Gardener in 2000, followed up with specialty certificates in wildlife, children?s, and vegetable gardening. She?s the author of seven books, including (St. Lynn?s Press) and (Alpha Books). Her work can be found in Fine Gardening Magazine, Hobby Farm Home Magazine, Urban Farm Magazine, The Heirloom Gardener Magazine, and Mother Earth Living. Online, she?s a staff blogger for and has written for a variety of sites. Chris and her family live on a flower and fiber farm in the Northern California foothills where they grow flowers, food, and Angora goats. You can track her down at her brand-spanking-new website,
More Fun with Flowers!
A lawn feels soft and cool spot 11x11 popup gazebo tent instant with mosquito netting outdoor gazebo canopy shelter with 121 square feet of shade beige_700053 under our feet, gives children and pets a place to play, and is an ideal spot for a summer picnic. Even so, lawns use up a lot of resources and can be very high maintenance, especially when it comes to watering.
Lawns can be water hogs!
Watering gardens and lawns has become a hot topic in the face of changes in climate conditions and unheard of periods of drought. Water resources are dwindling and, according to a recent study conducted by , if water consumption continues at its current rate 50 billion people will have scarce access to water by the year 2050. Many people are becoming aware of ways to conserve water and there is no subject as heated as watering lawns.
If you?re going to have a lawn on your property, then you can save both water and effort by understanding the science behind how lawn grows, and adopting a few tips for your home garden.
This post is sponsored by Gilmour, who also provided me with the sprinklers and watering tools shown in this post. a leader in quality watering tools, provides durable products with quality, efficiency and control features to make gardening and lawn care easier than ever. Gilmour?s hoses, nozzles, and sprinklers work seamlessly together to create a watering system that is perfect for your home garden. Check out the giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win your own awesome watering tools.
Each square foot of turf can be full of tens to hundreds of thirsty turf grass plants, each one aggressively competing for resources with its neighbors. Each plant is gobbling up the water, sun, and soil nutrients as quickly as possible to thrive in the space and outperform their neighbors. Then they set seed and drop them just below so that the next generation can replace them when they get burnt out. You can read more about how to give them the sun and soil nutrients they need in , but for now we will look at water.
The tips I?ll share with you today might have some of you thinking that I?m off my rocker! Like when I suggest you let the lawn die or that you plant weed seeds.
But please don?t click away too fast. There?s a method to my madness, I promise. Read on to grow the best lawn you?ve ever had with far less effort than you thought possible.
Water Deeply and Infrequently
If you throw a sprinkler on your lawn every day, you are actually doing your lawn more harm than good. It teaches the roots that water is available right at the surface and so the roots stay there and snack on a bit of water every day. These spoiled plants can?t handle drought nearly as well as plants that have been watered deeply only once or twice a week, whose roots push strongly down through the soil to grab water reserves. Encouraging deep roots allows you to wait longer between watering. It also means you can water less because water deep in the soil doesn?t evaporate into the air like it does in the top soil.
What you can do: make a watering gauge by gluing a measuring cup onto a garden stake and placing it in your garden. When it rains or you water, you can measure the inches of water that have fallen on your soil. Lawns need 1-1 ?? of water per week.
Rise and Shine
If your neighborhood?s watering restrictions allow it, watering in the early morning means less evaporation and water waste than in the middle of the day when the hot sun and dry air are a moisture magnet.
What you can do: set an to start watering in the wee hours of the morning and stop by 8:00 or 9:00 A.M.
Note: to figure out how much time you need to water for, set up your watering gauge in the lawn area and run the sprinkler for 15 minutes. Measure how much water you have collected and extend the time so that your gauge will fill to 1-1 ??for weekly watering or ?? ???for biweekly watering.
The more water you shoot into the air, the less water actually gets to the plants. Make a plan for what sprinkler system you need to most efficiently water your lawn. Set up your sprinkler settings and test the reach with the watering gauge.
What you can do: choose the best sprinkler for your lawn shape to water only the lawn, not wasting water on sidewalks and fences.
A directs water far and down and is ideal to cover a large lawn at once (up to 43-ft. spray distance; 5,800 square feet).
For average lawns, a gives you 360-degree coverage when placed in the center of a circular lawn. A gives you independent length and width control for rectangular and square lawns.
For smaller areas, hand watering is a meditative and relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors. Use an ergonomic so that you can direct water just where it?s needed and keep your hands from getting sore!
Brown is Beautiful.
Turf grasses need a bit of a break in hot, dry weather. As such, they naturally go dormant in the heat of summer. Dormancy means that the leaves above turn brown and wilt to conserve energy in the roots below. The plants may look dead, but when the weather cools down, the grass will grow back stronger than ever, because it followed its natural life cycle.
What you can do: if you live in an area where there are defined seasons, stop watering your lawn in the hottest months of the year. Let the plants go dormant and you?ll not only a save a ton of water, but greatly reduce your workload as well?keeping lawn green when its natural state is dormancy requires constant watering and mowing! It?s exhausting for the gardeners and the lawn.
Welcome the Weeds
I?ve not only stopped removing weeds from my lawn, but I?ve started adding them, too! Weeds can also be great lawn additions, just have a look at a park landscape. It will be full of low-growing, drought-tolerant wildflowers and other ?weeds? mixed in with the grasses. Weeds like clover and violets are soft and green like grass, you can mow them, walk on them, and, in true weed style, they are aggressive growers.
What you can do: adding these plants to your turf mix helps to reduce water because, well, you know weeds! They can grow anywhere. I have been adding microclover to my lawn seed mix at 2% over the years, and I love the results. Keep the plants mowed and they will stay small (less than 1?), or let them naturalize and get a bit bigger.
Gilmour has generously offered to give away TWO watering packages, and we want to share the love by offering one of the giveaway packages to a community garden or gardener in need. To enter, leave a comment by May 27, 2018 with the name of a gardener or community garden who you think would benefit from one of these packages, and if your comment is chosen, both you and the person/group you nominated will win one! Each package includes:
- 1 x which maximizes durability and kink resistance for superior all-around performance.
- 1 x The swivel connection increases mobility, allowing nozzle to pivot without twisting or kinking hose. Refined patterns with 8 clearly marked spray settings and one-turn adjustment to move from jet to rinse.
- 1 x which offers an aluminum spike allowing for increased durability and a step for putting into the ground. Aqua touchpoints intuitively guide water adjustments enabling coverage that spans 360-degrees
Be sure you are signed up for our to get news and special offers we don?t share anywhere else. This contest is open to residents of the continental US and Canada, except Quebec and where prohibited. This Contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Cheryl, who nominated her son and daughter-in-law, who just bought their first house and have a lot of yard work ahead of them, to win the second watering prize pack. Thanks for sharing the love, Cheryl!
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