Did you know Hydrangeas are one of the easiest flowers to dry? Given their size, you need only a few to fill a table arrangement or decorate a wreath. Cut when the blooms are partially dry and slightly papery, in September and October. If cut too soon, the blooms will wilt and not dry; cut too late and they will be brown and less attractive.

There are several ways to dry hydrangeas once cut such as: immerse in silica gel, hang upside down, or insert stems in moist floral foam. I find the easiest and most successful method is “water drying.” The blooms desiccate slowly, which helps them keep their shape and colour. While simple air-drying works, too, the end result is more brittle and fragile.

After cutting eight to 12 inch (20 to 30cm) stems, strip off all leaves. Place the stems in a few inches (about 8 cm) of water, and set the vase out of direct sun. Leave space around the flower heads for air circulation and to preserve their shape. Then, simply wait for the water in the vase to evaporate. By the time it’s gone, the hydrangeas should be dry.

It’s worth trying any type of hydrangea, but I find bigleaf, smooth and panicle ones dry best. Bigleaf hydrangeas dry to muted blue, purple, rose or green, depending on the cultivar; panicle and oakleaf flowers are pink or rose. Smooth hydrangeas dry to pale green, ivory or tan.

There is always something to discover when it comes to gardening. If you haven’t “discovered” the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS), this is YOUR invitation to join us. On Sept. 15, we resume our monthly program nights from 7-9pm at the Optimist Hall, 101 Main St. E., corner of Cedar and Main St. Dunnville. Come, bring a friend and hear about “Gardening in Drought Conditions?” by Wendi Prior, Assistant Manager of Terra Nursery, Hamilton. Everyone is welcome, members and non-members alike. Doors open at 6:30pm. Refreshments are served and there is no charge.

Founded in 1929, DHS is a welcoming group of people of all ages and gardening stages in life. With a healthy membership of over 260 people, we are a vibrant gathering of men, women, singles, couples, young, middle-aged folks and empty nesters. For more information contact Debbie Thomas, President at (905) 774-3064 or Deb Zynomirski, Vice President at 416-566-9337.

Visit our NEWLY updated website at: http://www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org

Sandi Marr is the Recording Secretary for the DHS and can be reached at sandi.h@sympatico.ca. Sandi welcomes your comments and ideas for future gardening columns.

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