Pressing Flowers with Janie
Picked at their peak and then preserved, pressed flowers offer a wonderful way to savor the beauty of summer long after its blooms have faded from the garden.
Gardener, artist, and author Janie Gross discusses the art and science of pressing flowers and shares some of her own techniques, using microwave and a custom, vented, microwavable press. As Janie explains, pressing not only provides a means by which you can preserve blossoms; it can also serve as a way to record your garden's evolution from year to year. Furthermore, pressed blooms can be used and enjoyed in myriad ways. According to Janie, the best flowers for pressing are those with a single layer of petals, such as cosmos and delphinium, while thicker flowers, such as peonies, lilies, and large roses, generally are not good candidates. For best result, you should always begin with freshly cut flowers (it's also best to cut them in the afternoon, after the morning dew has had a chance to evaporate). Some of the flowers she recommends pressing from Martha's garden include Virginia blue bell tulips, pink miniature roses, perennial geraniums, and forget-me-nots. To demonstrate, Janie uses a dwarf Jacob's ladder from her own garden.
For more information on pressing flowers and leaves, visit our feature story.