Drying and Preserving Valentine Roses
by J Black
Roses are a popular flower for giving at any time of the year but none more so than on Valentine's Day for which the Red Rose has become an expression of love.
The Rose, in all its shapes and sizes, is well worth the trouble of drying although the flowers do tend to shrivel a little and the colour tends to turn darker especially with the true red roses.
To preserve your roses try one of the following methods.
Air Drying Roses
The best results are obtained when all the petals of the bud can be seen.
Pick roses only on a dry day after any dew has evaporated. Roses with firm buds that are just about to open are best for air drying, To air dry hang the roses in a dark, dry, cool place with good ventilation. The buds will open up over a few days the the whole process takes couple of weeks.
When dry a little hair lacquer sprayed on will protect the rose and make it last longer.
This can be done using a desiccant such as silica gel, alum, sand or borax. Place your desiccant into a bowl making sure that the desiccant is entirely dry. Remove the stem of the rose and push a short length of florist wire through the centre of the the rose and replace the stem.
Push the wire stem into the bowl of desiccant and carefully spoon the desiccant over the rose. Seal the container and leave to dry out. Silica takes about 48 hours, but alum and borax take about 2 weeks and sand can take up to about 4 weeks.
Your desiccant can be used again by carefully drying out in an oven. When cooled it should be ready to use again.
Dried and preserved roses are also nice to use when making potpourri as they nearly always retain their scent. Add extra scent with a drop or two of rose oil into the potpourri mix then displayed in open bowls of petals with similar colouring or in or use in sachets mixes for clothes drawers or the airing cupboard.
Copyright 2005 J Black
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