"Getting rid of everything that doesn’t matter allows you to remember who you are. Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Blooming And Drying

The veggie garden might suck this year but my "cutting garden" is stepping up it's game beautifully.

Every time I go out to cut I ask myself..."Where have I been?  Why didn't I do this sooner?"  I love this flower garden!

The zinnia's keep on putting out.  I'm also starting to get some bigger blooms too.  What a thrill!

I cut flowers weekly for our home (of course) and my good neighbor Debbie gets a weekly bouquet to thank her for taking care of our pups when SM and I are gone.  Deb's already commented that she's planning on starting a cutting garden next year too.

I also take flowers in to work.  I set a small mason jar at the reception desk and another on my desk.  I can't tell you how many comments I've gotten from patients for such a simple thing.  There's just something about fresh flowers isn't there?

One of the seed packs I threw out there this spring was cockscomb.  Otherwise know as celosia cristata in intelligent circles.  Around here I call it the "brain flower" cause that's what it looks like.  A brain.

About a month ago I cut one and parked it on a mason jar along with some zinnias and waited to see what it would do.  It lasted a long time which made me wonder if it was worth it to dry the sucker. 

I pulled it out when the zinnia's were done, wrapped a rubber band around it and hung it upside down in my office.  The cleaning people actually left it alone.

So far it's drying up nicely so inspiration struck.  I went out to the garden and cut some of the bigger heads and stripped off the leaves.  I had flinched some rubber bands from work (contraband...don't fire me!) and goggled a "How To" just in case I was missing something.

I found a nice message board thread on MaryJanes Farm about it.
I cut it on a dry day, and I hung it upside down from the rafters in the barn or garage but first I put it in a bag that will catch all the seeds that will fall out of it...good for seeds next year. The many seeds will make a mess under where you hang them. Keep it dry and dark until dried and then you can use it in wreaths or flower arrangements. One year I tied a bunch together at the stems, tied a florist bow and added in small gourds, indian corn, and some grasses and it was beautiful that fall by our fireplace. I also had read somewhere to spray with a hairspray and I think that helped to bring out the colors.
i tried to find seeds this spring but couldn't fine the nice big cockscombs that I like...so hang on to your seeds! 

Good advice especially about the seeds falling out.  I hung them upside down using the rubberbands attached to a wire hanger and stuck a garbage bag loosely under it to catch the seeds. 

Yes, I have wire hangers in my house.  Sorry Joan. 

Anyhoo...I've got these hanging in the spare bedroom to dry.  I wasn't sure about hanging them outside in the shed in this heat and humidity.

I'm kinda excited to see how it goes.  I'm thinking of a wreath for the front door for the Fall.  I've got at least this much cockscomb still out in the garden to cut and dry.

I wonder what other flowers dry well.  Not a pressed dried flower, just regular flowers that keep their shape and color when dried.  Shame my hydrangea is so small.  I could dry those too.

Any expert flower driers out there?  Suggestions? 

And does anyone know if the zinnias will reseed themselves for next year?  I've been tossing the spent blooms back in the flower bed just in case they do. 


  1. I too love zinnias. Next year I think I will plant more annual flowers.

  2. Your zinnias should reseed. The goldfinch also love to eat the seed and the flowers attract lots of butterflies and bumblebees. I just let mine seed out for the birds and always get a new crop next year. I have zinnias from a single plant I set out about 5 years ago. The volunteers sometimes come up outside the bed and I'll just move the seedling into the bed.

  3. My Mom's zinnias seem to reseed themselves....but maybe I just don't notice her planting the same plants in the sam place every year. Oh wait, they must reseed because I've seen teeny-tiny zinnia plants next to the larger ones.

    One day I'll have a cutting garden. I'm always reluctant to cut flowers because I feel like I'm killing them. Well, actually I am, but to see fresh cut flowers in the house would probably make me feel better about it. Glad you got your cutting garden going, enjoying it and spreadign the joy to others :)

  4. Your flowers are beautiful. I am loving zinnias and all of the birds and butterflies they bring. I like the way our cockscombs look, very colorful with interesting texture. Maybe I will try some next year. I have had zinnias reseed themselves, but not in large quantities.

    You can save the seed after the flowers dry out, if the little finches will leave you any. I am wondering if the seeds saved are true to the color of the original flower. I am hoping so, as I am having a zinnia protection program this year. I use those little nylon drawstring gift bags. I am hoping they will allow the flower to dry enough. I have a picture of the way I am doing this on my blog.

  5. I love the flowers but so do my two house cats. I'm not sure which plants are toxic so my flowers stay in the garden. The previous owners planted black/brown eyed susans and some kind of daisy. Both come back each year. The birds really like the susan's seeds. I also have hydrangias that return every year.

    You can also visit the "66 Square Feet" blog where she talks about flowers that she plants to attract pollinators. Just what you need for your apples!

    My veggie's aren't doing very well this year either (I live in northern Virginia). The tomatoes are a huge disappointment. I guess I'll have to buy seconds to can this year.