Drying dahlia flowers : part 1

Mad I know. My compost bin’s loss is the winter bouquet’s gain.

For years now I have been deadheading the fading dahlias in the garden and just lobbing them onto the compost heap.

But I have dried flowers on the brain. And there was a snippet of a tv programme I saw that displayed dried dahlia flowers.

I caught that the flower grower was from Cheshire in the UK and she is a professional dahlia gal.

Could I find her name to attribute these amazing ideas?

Alas. I have devoted goodly amounts of time online and to little avail. If my house turned up on a popular tv programme devoted to gardening I would be promoting like mad.

I think this might be her.

Justdahlias was started by Philippa Stewart in 2016 as her passion for dahlias became something of an obsession. Through her Instagram site @justdahlias she realised there was a market for these amazing blooms and now Justdahlias flowers (fresh and dried) are used in many events, photoshoots and homes throughout the UK.

The tv programme was annoyingly coy about publicising her business. But if it’s her, then brava. This has given me ideas.

And not just the idea to pain that end wall of the potting shed because it looks decidedly ratty.

Behold my new fun project in the potting shed.

I like how the professional used a long piece of chicken wire to hang over the ceiling. And then draped the flowers to dry them. But that involves cutting them off the plant with a spare future bloom to hook them into the wire.

I don’t have a field of dahlias.

So for now I’m tying them with string and dangling them off a piece of wire strung across the ceiling.

I’ll let you know how I go. I need to wait a few weeks and see if they have dried nicely and are not full of bugs.

And as an update on another mad potting shed project…

Here are the sedums I’m drying in their glycerine / water bath. Two parts water to one part glycerine.

(And thank you Christine but I think I will eschew the hairspray idea. That would give me an instant flashback to dreadful childhood car journeys with our neighbour Sheila Horrocks. Car pooling from hell. As a child prone to car sickness may I offer you the aroma of just hairsprayed head of hair and cigarette smoke and a long journey to a distant netball competition. Ugh.)

And below just the bouquets in water.

With jars of water to baffle the cat who likes to drink from any vessel I leave out and knock over flowers in her attempt to get at the liquid.

It’s amazing what I can do to avoid cutting out brambles on the lower terrace stone walls.

Playing with flowers is so much more fun than farm work.