Flower Power

It’s Labor Day, and I vowed not to labor today, but…


I noticed that my hydrangeas are at their peak of perfection right now, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture them at their most beautiful. Our Chicago temps are forecast to go back up into the 90s for the next few days, and the luscious, rosy hue that they’re rocking right now won’t last in the impending heat. Therefore, I determined that today was the day to do my annual process of cutting and preserving the blooms, so I can enjoy them all winter long in dried arrangements.

In the meantime, while they’re so fabulous and bountiful, I cut a big bunch of blooms to take to my friend who’s hosting a Labor Day gathering. I made a very simple, no frills arrangement to let the flowers shine (and then she can preserve them for the winter, too, if she likes). With the leftover bits and pieces I trimmed off, I made a few little free-form tussie-mussies with roses from the garden to put in my own kitchen window.









Hydrangeas happen to be very simple to preserve. I have the Hydrangea piniculata ‘Unique’ variety – which produces mountains of huge, conical-shaped white blooms that turn to a lovely pale green and rose – but I’ve found that most all varieties of hydrangea dry well. And it’s simple!  When you notice that they’re in their prime, simply cut the best of the best, making sure to leave a long stem. Strip off all the leaves, and then hang them upside-down in a cool, dry place that’s out of the sun. I use the workbench part of my basement…


It’s not pretty (and the lighting isn’t great for photography, as you can see), but it gets the job done. I use twine, so the stems don’t get damaged, and I hang them at varying height intervals, so they’re not touching one another and air can circulate around each blossom. They will fully dry within a week at which time you can spray them with a mist of hairspray to preserve them even longer.

When Thanksgiving comes around, and you’re wondering what to do for a centerpiece on your coffee table or dining table, you’ll remember that you have beautiful dried hydrangeas in the basement and give thanks for sure!


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