Preserving Roses

The Many Ways of Preserving Roses

Air drying as a means of preserving roses is probably the easiest of all the methods available to those interested in keeping their memories for years to come. Not only that, it requires very little hands on time and a minimal amount of supplies-pruning sheers, a clothes hanger, a 7" strip of wire and an out of the way place to hang (up to three weeks) the blooms or buds to dry.

When using this method for preserving roses you must first cut the stem off each flower as close to the head as possible but the end result is one you will appreciate. It takes two to three weeks of drying time, then a good spray with a lacquer, a coat of clear spray or hair spray to seal the roses and preserve their color.

For preserving roses in glycerin cut mature flowers from your garden as the tender shoots do not as readily accept the glycerin as the mature do. Harvest the roses to be preserved in the a.m. hours-though not too early as the dew needs to have evaporated from everything that you will be working with. It will be easier to dust the specimens when they are dry, also. Follow the directions carefully. This is not a difficult process if you follow the directions carefully-especially when heating the glycerin. A mixture of one part vegetable glycerin to two parts hot water is a good formula. Again, you will need about three weeks of waiting time as the water/glycerin is absorbed into the flowers. Hang the flowers to dry-upside down is best. It will take another few weeks-be sure to inspect flowers as they dry.

Another popular drying technique involves the use of silica gel. With this medium the flowers are dried out very quickly (within a week) preserving the natural color as no other drying technique does. Be sure your container is air tight as the silica will need this to do its job effectively. Borax, cornmeal or alum may be used also. A good recipe for this would be 10 parts white cornmeal to three parts borax.

The microwave is also a great tool for drying-just make sure dinner is done!! There are a number of drying suggestions for preserving roses in this manner. It takes about a half an inch of a drying medium in the bottom of a shallow drying container to start with-silica gel works well. Then put the flowers in the container, dusting each bloom-petal by petal. Fill the container partially with the silica gently packing it around the roses to keep them in place while helping them to retain their shape. On high power it takes about 2-3 minutes. It is best to let it set 24 hours before disturbing the roses.

A dehydrator set on a very low setting works well also. There is a lot of room in a dehydrator which accomplishes a large job quickly. Check your nearest craft store for more targeted instructions.

Many people like the affect of the waxed flowers. This also is not necessarily hard but you are working with hot wax-paraffin is good and dries clear. Once the wax is hot simply plunge each rose into it ensuring all parts are covered. Remove allowing the excess wax to drip off. These can be put into the refrigerator to set (harden) or hung at room temperature.