Thursday, August 5, 2010


~Beautiful Air Dried Hydrangeas~

A couple of weeks ago while out junkin' in my town I came across this lovely over-sized kitchen jar filled to the brim with aging Hydrangeas.  I love decorating with REAL flowers, dried or fresh, and couldn't wait to display my latest find inside a pretty little cloche.

Now...I make no secret about the fact that I do NOT have a green thumb.  I long to...I try to...but, no matter how much I water, don't water, follow planting directions, shade, sun and soil recommendations, etc., I continually FAIL to produce a lovely floral harvest.  My flowering plants and shrubs look good, sometimes even great at first bloom...but after just a short time they look, well...crummy.  I even struggle to keep some alive.

It is so depressing.
 ~Simply Beautiful~

And so I have a tendency to put the BLAME on my beloved state of Oklahoma and her ever changing weather.
 This make me feel better.
   That is...until I peek at my neighbor's flourishing landscapes and then I get even more depressed.

Again the word "FAIL" (yes, in big, bold letters) comes to mind!
~Such Detail~

So...when I found these lovely (and nearly perfect) dried petals I got the wonderful idea to take a cutting from a couple of my plants in my suffering garden...  I was more excited than I can tell you!  I carefully snipped away two pretty and deep pink Hydrangea heads and brought them inside to dry.

I didn't do anything fancy as I HAD HEARD they will just dry naturally.
~What a Mess~

Well...this is what I got!  Two shriveled up little tuffs of grayish-purple petals.



Can somebody HELP ME??

Quick!  SAVE ME!


Unknown said...

Oh Sweetie!
I so understand your plight1 I have struggled to with florals and have gone to perennials that are hardy to my area.

Now, I have dried hydrangeas, this is what I have done. I cut my stalk long and put them in a vase with water. Then just let them sit and the water evaoprate. They usually will keep their shape and not wither this way. They may be a bit crunchy or fragile but very usuable. Then as they ages they will start to change colors.

Hope that helps.


Debra@CommonGround said...

Hey there Rebecca, I'm in the same boat as you. I have a terrible time with flowers, what is it? But I DO love the crunchy ones anyway. The colors are fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Poor poor brown thumbed Beautiful Rebecca! I feel your pain too! I blame my brown thumb on our horribly hot weather! :) I do have a hydrangea in a pot and it actually grew two beautiful pink blooms this year, with no help from me. I cut the stems and just poked them in a glass and placed them in the window sill and now they're a purple color and so pretty. But I don't know what to do with them now!!
I have a hint for you that works for me - faux! :)
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Sandy~Romantique Inspirations~ said...

If that's the case not having a green thumb Rebecca, then that would explain why you do superb work painting flowers on things.... Besides you do everything else like decorating too so wonderfully well. Your a woman with good taste!


Jan M said...

I adore hydrangeas, and even had a post on my blog about my bushes a few months ago. I don't think my climate in Texas is that different from yours in Oklahoma. I have found that my bushes need afternoon shade. Even now, they are pretty sad looking. I just resign myself to the fact that I will have gorgeous blooms early in the summer, but not as long as in other climates. They are also very, very thirsty little creatures. A soaker hose is your best friend. I don't know if you can ever overwater a hydrangea in our regions!
For drying, I use the same method that I use for roses. I tie them to a hanger upside down. Then, it is into a dark closet for several days. I am looking at one that I dried that way several years ago. Over the years, the blue/purple color has faded, but the bloom itself is still perfect. I think to retain the color, you need to put them into large containers with a special chemical that usually comes in crystal form -- but the name excapes me right now.

GwendolynKay said...

Try this .. it has worked for me in the past. cut your flowers with some stems and put them in a vase of water, and over a period of a few days they should dry slowly and naturally.

Theresa said...

Hi Rebecca, I have a semi-green thumb but when it is as hot as it is right now... my thumb turns brown as do a lot of my flowers:)

I agree with Lorena, I have dried them just by leaving them alone or mine dry beautifully on the bush! I know that you can dry roses by hanging them upside down but I have not tried it with hydrangeas!

Have a blessed day my friend! HUGS!

Susan said...

I feel your pain. Some people whatever they do turns out beautifully...........not me.......sigh.

Unknown said...

Rebecca, did you tie them together and hang them upside down? That's how I did my last batch and they dried quite nicely. They also darken with time, so keep that in mind.

As for your outdoor flowers, deadheading (cutting off spent blooms)is really important. For instance, my petunias get leggy and stop flowering after a while, so I go out with my snippers and cut them back severely. Within a few days, they'll start producing and looking healthy again. When all the flowers are spent, the plant uses it's energy trying to go to seed, so if you keep the dead blooms in check, the plant will work on flowering.

Anonymous said...

OK, I have never tried this, but I have heard that in order to have perfect blooms keep their amazing color and shape, put them in a box with some silica jell. It preserves them so they last a long time. Like I said, I have never tried it myself. With your artistic abilities, if your only problem is not having a green thumb, I would say "get over it"!!! LOL Marcia

Jo said...

Rebecca, there are a couple of ways you can do it. Cut the hydrangeas with a fairly long stem, and remove all the leaves. Then put them in a glass half-full of water and let the water evaporate. The flowers will be dried out and will look very nice.

Or you can hang them upside down, the same as roses.

If you want to preseve the hydrangeas so they look fresh, there is a way to do it with silica, but I don't know how to do that. Perhaps Googling it will tell you.

For some strange reason, I have a green thumb, but I treat my garden with benign neglect. Go figure... :-)

Kim said...

My dear you are being way too hard on yourself. How can any of us keep up with the weather this Summer?? And for the record, I DO have a green thumb and my flowers look like crap this year. I gave up on them a few weeks ago, just couldn't keep up. On another note, I have something I can't wait to show YOU! I will send pix soon!

Marguerite (Tina) Smith Hart said...

Rebecca I always just hung mine upside down and it worked out fine but that is without high humidity and I think you live in a very moist area so it might be a little harder. Also when the color on mine faded more than I liked I touched the petals up with a thin mix of watercolor. Experimenting is half the fun!
Tina xo

No name said...

I did a little research for you:

I've always clipped flowers and hunt them upside down in a dark place until dry. That method works well with roses.

Hope this helps,

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Hi Rebecca,
I'm with you on the drying hydrangeas no success story. I saw Martha Stewart showing how to dry them in a little bit of water years ago. I tried this a couple months ago and mine turned out like yours, all shriveled up and icky looking too! I think I let them go too far before I picked mine though... perhaps try them in the water when they're already in really good shape in the garden, not on the way out like I did. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I'm laughing... not at you, but at myself. I too suffer the same plight and can offer no suggestion only a hug. Look at all the other amazing ways you are talented! This to me, is a cute and funny post. You have made me laugh and smile today, thank you!
still laughing,

kluless said...

I find that the later in the season that I cut them, the better they hold their color. I think it also important to cut them in the morning when it's still cool. I just arrange mine right away in a basket with floral foam and no water and I've had really good luck with them holding the shape and color. You do need to keep them out of direct sunlight or they will eventually lose ALL color.

Julie Marie said...

Hello my sweet friend... for one thing, Hydrangeas are not as easy to grow as some people would like you to think... so much depends on your soil... as for drying them, the ladies who told you to hang them upside down have it right... but they must be in cool, dry place where air can circulate around them... for an expert opinion, I would ask JUNE!... xoxo Julie Marie

Mari said...



Oklahoma Granny said...

I am so with you on the brown thumb thing. I pick out the flowers I want to plant, then my hubby does the planting and watering.

I did however cut some hydrangeas with long stems the other day and kind of hung them over the side of a basket I have. After a few days they were completed dried and I put them in a large bowl. Like others have said, they're a little crunchy feeling but they look nice.

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Rebecca,
Sounds like we are in the same boat!
I cannot grow flowers, no matter what I try to do. I have had success drying hydrangeas, that is, if I am lucky enough to get them to grow in my garden of weeds.

I just put them in water and let the water evaporate. Sometimes they look good sometimes, not so much.

Good luck.


Katie said...

Oh Rebecca, you are so silly :)
The way I dry all my flowers is to cut them while still pretty and hang them upside down until dried out. This has never failed me. They say this is to be done in a dark closet but I have never done that. I hang them upside down anywhere. Try this and let me know...

Char said...

Hi Rebecca, I think it's pretty late in the year to get the gorgeous blooms that come in the spring. I know my garden tends to give me the best roses on first bloom. That being said, when we lived in GA I had gorgeous hydrangeas. They need to be cut before they have aged. Get them early and hang them. It worked for me and I hope it will work for you also. It's worth trying. I know you have perserve them in gel, but they have to be covered to dry out evenly. I look forward to seeing what you decide to do and how it all turns out. Don't give up, don't fret about this, next year is a new year of trying. Make sure your plants get the food they need also, Char

Wendy said...

Oh I can so relate and just posted about this today, too! I have found that letting them dry right on the bush produced the best dried hydrangea blooms. They have turned out perfect. I must tell you that we had some brown shriveled up messes until we figured it out! Good luck :)

Shabby T said...

I'm no green thumb either I envy others beautiful landscapes but my landscape is a dud.. My lovely sil has a beautiful yard I'm secretly
jealous just kidding.. However I can grow beautiful roses they are very hardy.. The soil isn't the best here at the Jersey shore but the roses seem to LOVE IT...
Shabb T

Dolores said...

Oh sweet Rebecca........ I must confess to you that I'm a little bit tickled that you tried something that didn't turn out spectacular. You have a way with making anything look better than it was 'before'....
Just teasing....
Love you,

Lovey said...

Smiles and Hugs...not a failure but an opportunity to try try again...xoxo

Unknown said...

Oh, my ... you should have just asked me.

Katie has this down right to the chuckle! So simple & easy ... hang them upside down anywhere works fine for me, too.

Been very busy with the kid-lings & surviving this 'flip me over, I'm done on that side' heatwave. Got the arbor in, it's beautiful.

Have a lovely eve, R.
TTFN ~ Marydon

Heaven's Walk said...

Oh Rebecca! You poor girl! :( You sounded so desperate in your blog! Definitely try the silica sand. I used to work for a landscape company who specialized in water gardens. We used to dry the water lilies all the time in the silica sand. All you have to do is bury the bloom in it and wait for a few weeks. When you lift it out, it's perfect!

Hope that works for you, friend. And cheer up! There's always silk!

xoxo laurie@heavens-walk

Tara said...

I guess we all have our faults. If that's your worst one, you are doing great!

It could be you picked the hydrangea too early. I think if you wait later in the summer they dry out faster and don't have time to shrivel.

Jacoba said...

Hi Rebecca,
Now here is something that you should try out. I have many many hydrangeas in my garden and if there is one with particularly beautiful colours I want it straight in the house in a vase. But ... if you want to dry them you have to wait until the petals do not feel soft anymore.
Tip 1: When you touch them with a flat hand the petals feel soft, there is no resistance, but later on in the season you will notice that the petals have hardened and resist your touch. When this is so they are ready to be picked and to dry, and no need to hang them up or whatsoever. All you need is patience for the end of the season.
Tip 2: if you cut of the various groups of one bloom and tie them up tightly by five together, they make nice tight fillings for flower arrangements.

Happy day!
(trained as a florist as a hobby)

chicroses said...

I wouldnt worry to much about your brown thumb..just think of all your talent otherwise. Now I live in washinton state in the desert.I have had a little trouble with them.The kind of hydrangea for different climants makes the difference also I think?Ive had some that were bought in Seattle and they died. Now about drying them. I try to leave them on the plant till they get thickish in texture. Does that make since?Do you have lots of clay soil? I know soil is the key to lush pretty plants of any kind. Hope I helped a little. Just go paint and dont worry about the hydrangeas..Sally

Jil~Say It With Roses said...

I have been drying these beauties for years...I cut them when they are at their prettiest and lay them in one of those big flat baskets with the bit handle....I layer them carefully...for me, they just fade but retain their shape with very little withering...the colors do not always stay true, but they are beautiful in their dried can also, if you have time dry them in silica and do it carefully in the microwave....I like my basket way best.
I used to work with drieds and had my own cutting garden when we lived in Washington State...I had flowers upside down everywhere and roses I dried in the silica....I loved making wreaths...
Hope this helps a wee bit...

Unknown said...

I am like the other Bec, you do so many wonderful things don't worry about the things you can't do. I have had hydrangea for years. Some years they are beautiful and do just what I want some years not so. Just cut them anytime and hang them upside down. However they come out you and choose ribbon or other accessories to go with the color. Yes they need oodles of water, acid or alkaline which ever color you want too. Love your blog

Amara Russell said...

I found this on a very beautiful garden down & find "Tip #2" about when to cut hydrangeas so they will dry well:

I'm from OK & now live in AZ...I wish you great success with your garden. Do you have Lilacs? I remember from my childhood in OK a beautiful stand of lilac bushes that lined the driveway of an abandoned farm we drove by often. one tended them, they were just the happiest plants all on their own. They bloomed like nobody's business! Getting the soil right for plants is key, so turn your attention to making the soil right for each plant & you'll be well rewarded.

Many Blessings

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