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We use a lot of flowers in the summer. Geraniums are a good choice for us. They’re hardy and will  survive mild neglect.

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There are too many lovely geraniums to throw away. We decided to try to overwinter them.

We overwintered our geraniums dormant in our dark basement.

Here’s how: Storing your geraniums dormant. 

When we brought the geraniums up this spring, we didn’t take them outside right away. We were afraid too much sun, too soon, might harm them. We kept them in our garage for 2 days to acclimate to the sun that came through those windows. Then we brought the geraniums outside and sheltered them next to the wooden fence.

One of the 12 geraniums we brought inside for the winter was overwatered during our acclimation process. It turned mushy. But even so, 11 geraniums is a good start on summer flowers.

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This is what they look like after being in the dark for months. Notice the little leaves starting to sprout on the thin white stalks..

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The leaves are more developed on this plant.

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We brought this one up over a week ago to see how it did. It looks good.

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My dried rose is still bright and yellow. It looks fresh and alive.

When I opened my garage refrigerator door, the forgotten rose was the first thing I saw. It was as bright a yellow and as beautiful as the day I left it.

That was September 8, the day my father was buried.

At the gravesite, my mother and I each took a yellow rose from the spray on my father’s casket. When I got home, I put the rose in a small vase in our spare refrigerator and forgot about it.

Until now.

It was exquisite, delicately tinted…deserving of care and preservation.

Which is what DH and I did. It came out perfect.

Besides roses, chrysanthemums (which are at their peak now) also are easily preserved.

dsc00759.JPG This is the gel I used. I got it at Michael’s.

HOW TO PRESERVE FLOWERS WITH SILICA GEL

Conventional Drying Method (This is what I did)

  1. Choose plastic or metal container with tight-fitting lid.
  2. Pour silica gel into container to a depth o 1 1/2 inches to cover the bottom. Cut flower stems to about 1 1/2 “. Space flowers so they do not touch each other. Original stems may be dried and reattached with floral wire and tape after drying.
  3. dsc00722.JPG The stem is cut to 1 1/2″.

  4. Slowly sprinkle silica get around base of flowers, adding it to the top and sides of the flowers. Be careful to support fragile petals with the silica gel before covering the top of the blossom. Make sure all parts of the flowers are covered with a generous layer of silica gel.
  5. dsc00723.JPG The flower is in the gel. See how yellow and fresh it is.

  6. Cover container with airtight lid and put away in a dry place. Drying times vary from 2 to 7 days, depending on the number of flowers in a container and the moisture content of the flowers. Thin petals will dry faster than heavier flower centers.
  7. To remove the flowers, slowly pour off silica gel until blossoms are uncovered. Gently brush away silica gel that may be on the petals using a soft artist’s brush. A few grains of silica gel may be left in the center of heavy flowers to aid in preserving them from room humidity.

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Carefully pouring off the silica gel.

Microwave Directions

Prepare flowers as above but DO NOT COVER the container. Place in the microwave (in a microwave-safe dish) with a glass of water and heat on medium power until dry.

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Fresh-cut snapdragons.

 Suggested Flowers to Preserve

Pansies, violas, baby’s breath, buttercup, feverfew, heather, ferns, azalea, calendula, daisy, aster, bachelor button, larkspur, delphinium, foxglove, roses, carnations, gardenia, marigold, hydangea, hyacinth, chrysanthemum, orchid, snapdragon, stock, peony

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My dried snapdragon flowers and their foilage kept their color and are ready to be added to an arrangement.

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