Now is the perfect time to bring some of those glorious fall colors indoors!
I have some simple arrangements, using dried hydrangeas, that I think you are going to love to try.
You can dry hydrangeas a number of ways. One popular method is to put them in a jar or vase with about an inch of water. By the time the water disappears, the flowers are dry.
Another easy way is to hang bunches to dry. Simply secure your flowers with an elastic band and hang them in a cool, dry place that out of direct sunlight.
This certainly works, but based on my experiments, I am not sure it is always necessary to dry the flowers first before you use them. Dried hydrangeas are brittle and fall to pieces easily.
Fresh flowers harvested at this time of year are often much easier to work with. With the cool fall temperatures, hydrangeas are already somewhat dry and papery. Fresh stems are strong and woody making them easier to use.
My first project was to fill a basket with hydrangeas and dried roses.
It's standard practice for dried arrangements of this type to use a piece of florist's foam to hold the flowers in place.
Florist's foam is full of chemicals and isn't biodegradable, so I opted instead to use an old fashioned flower frog. (Note: If you are doing a basket up as a gift, you may want to resort to using the florist's foam. It will make the arrangement more transportable.)
The mix of flowers I used include:
Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit' (seen above on the left as they looked earlier in the summer. This Proven Winner's cultivar has flowers that are smaller and finer than many other varieties of hydrangea. Unfortunately the stems aren't super sturdy)
Hydrangea paniculata 'Little Lime' (seen above on the right).
Here's how to make your own basket arrangement:
Go out to your yard and pick a generous armful of hydrangea flowers.
Remove all the leaves and trim the hydrangea flowers to a length appropriate to your basket (as shown above).
Place the metal frog in the bottom of your basket. Insert the woody stems into the metal frog.
Put the basket aside while the hydrangea flowers dry enough for you to move on to the next step, which is adding the dried roses.
Roses must be hung to dry. Fasten bunches of roses together with an elastic band and then hang them, upside down, in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. It will take a little over a week to dry roses. When the rose stems are stiff, they are usually ready to use.
Trim the dried roses to a length appropriate to your basket (mine were about 8 inches).
Gently poke the roses in amongst the hydrangeas and allow them to catch in the maze of flower stems. (If you opt to use foam, secure the roses into the florist's foam inside the basket.)
This is my finished basket filled with dried hydrangeas and roses.
This hydrangea wreath was another project where I used fresh flowers. Once assembled the wreath dried perfectly.
To keep this post a reasonable length, I have posted instructions separately here.
How to make a dried hydrangea arrangement for a vase or urn:
Cut your hydrangea flowers to a length appropriate to your container. Remove all the green foliage.
Gather the flowers into a pleasing bouquet and fasten the flower stems together with an elastic band.
To double check your arrangement is pleasing, place the tied flowers into the urn or vase. Remove the elastic, if necessary, and make an minor adjustments. Gather the flowers back up and refasten the elastic band when you are happy with the arrangement.
Hang the flowers in a cool, dry place out of direct sun.
Before you know it the flowers will be dry enough to place right side up in your vase or urn.
I left the elastic in place to hold the flowers in position. Another arrangement done!
Even individual hydrangea flowers have a decorative potential.
I used a few of the dried flowers along with some dried purple Gomphrena to pretty up this bird's nest.
Purple Gomphrena (see my post on Simple Techniques for Drying Flowers)
Often I collect things I like with no intended purpose in mind and group objects together later.
This is a perfect example.The silver pedestal dish came from a charity shop ($5). The bell-shaped glass cloche was purchased from a home decor store a few years back ($8-10). The straw nest is from the craft store ($8). The speckled eggs and ceramic bird are tiny treasures I picked up somewhere or other in my travels.
I like to think that, grouped together, my random collection of things becomes rather charming.
In behind is another bunch of dried hydrangeas in a white pitcher. (Yes, I do have loads of hydrangeas in my garden!)
If you have hydrangeas in your garden, it's not too late to think about drying some of them!