My first memory of being interested in miniature flowers goes all the way back to the time that I lived in a three family house that we shared with my grandmother and other relatives. I must have been quite young because we moved from there when I was 10. I remember that my grandmother did not like all us kids (there were 11 in the house) going into her garden. But I also remember sneaking down to it and cutting little flowers that I would use for doll bouquets. The two flowers I remember picking and drying for bridal bouquets were “Ladysthumb” (Polygonum persicaria) and Spirea. I didn’t know what they were called then but it is funny that I remembered them and have them both available for drying. Spirea is well past its prime for flowers but I found a few to dry.

“Ladysthumb” (Polygonum persicaria)

Now is the time to pick flowers for drying for miniature gardens and settings. In the Philadelphia Flower Show, we must use real dried flowers if we include them in our setting. I plan to do that this year so I am starting early with that part of my project. Here is the best way I know for flower drying.

Pick flowers that are tiny. Sometimes, as with the hydrangeas (not the large flowered ones but the ones with smaller blossoms) or the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy,’ it is best to pick them before they fully open to get a smaller bloom. Some flowers like Russian sage fall off easily but they are still worth trying. Butterfly bush has beautiful tiny flowers as does heather (which will not bloom until the winter) and lavender. I am trying some astilbe which are partially dry already. Overall, there are plenty of choices in most gardens if you look closely.

Get a box that can be sealed. Put a thin layer of silica gel (sold in Michael’s craft stores as “Flower Drying Art”) on the bottom, layer the flowers and the silica gel. Keep the box sealed for about a week. Store the dried flowers with a bit of silica gel in another sealed box until you use them.