Flowers dried in sand never look dehydrated. These boxes hold a colorful collection of dried tulips, roses, peonies, and delphiniums.
I was always a gardener. My mother and grandmother were, too, so I think it’s in my genes. I gardened all through my husband’s career in the military. We moved frequently, but at each new post, I dug beds and filled them with my favorite plants, only to have to move again in a couple years. Maybe that’s how I grew to love drying flowers and using them in long-lasting arrangements. Dried, my favorite flowers lived on and on.
When my husband retired, I was finally able to establish permanent gardens. I was careful to plant them with specimens that wouldn’t look bedraggled after I clipped flowers and foliage for drying and arranging. One thing that helps is having so many trees and shrubs, especially all the neatly clipped mounds of boxwood. It gives the garden a strong sense of structure, with or without the flowers.
I like the heirlooms the Garden Club of Virginia uses in its historic garden preservation projects, so naturally there are lots of plants that are traditional, like boxwood, lilacs, peonies, and delphiniums, in my garden. But I also get excited about things that are new. I have plants to carry me all through the season, from hellebores to dahlias, and most are so productive that a few cut flowers are hardly missed.
I also grow old, traditional roses and like them as plants, but discovered the flowers don’t have enough substance to dry well. So I’ve planted some hybrid tea roses for drying, even though I don’t like the plants as much.