Preserving Plants for Display

I always see such lovely plants and I want to keep them so I can always see their beauty. One way I can keep some of their beauty around is to reserve them and create lovely art with the plants after I have pressed them. 

Pressing plants at home is not too difficult. I grew up using large books but now I have a real plant press so I use that. Generally when you are pressing a plant you want to make sure you have good acid free paper to line both sides of the plan and then cardboard to go between the paper. 1 layer of cardboard, 1 paper sheet, plants, 1 paper sheet, 1 layer of cardboard, repeat. 

I still have a few plans in my press from last year but the new plants are sure to be beautiful too. You can preserve plants this way and then glue your dry plants to a separate page to keep as herbarium samples. The plants that are best kept as herbarium samples show all of the different features of the plant. This middle calendula is a great example because you can see the flowers and leaves. The sage is missing it’s flowers and the lavender it’s leaves. 

When you are preparing to press your plants it is great to have some extra slips of paper and some tape available. You can use the tape to old down parts of the plant that are curling up or to adjust the plant to the direction you want it to dry in like with the grass here. Whatever shape your plant is in when you press it, it will stay in that shape. When they are dry the are very fragile and cannot be rearranged easily. Be sure to not get tape on your plants as the will not come off when dry.

There are a few different approaches you can take to pressing flowers. Like the one above here you can place the top of the flower down to create the appearance of looking down on the flower when it is pressed, you can also adjust your flower if it has a stem so it appears that it is still on the stem such as in the calendula above. I am trying both techniques with these lovely roses this week. Be sure to be following us on instagram to see how they turn out.

 Once you have arranged all of your plants on your pages and layered them with cardboard it is time to press them. I have a wooden frame but you can also tie the stack with ropes. It is important to tighten the bundle every few days as the plant dries. The pages will absorb and disperse the moisture so the plants do not go bad while being pressed. The gaps in the paper, like you see here, will disappear as the plants dry and you continue to tighten your stack. I am excited to see how my new plants will turn out and also to see what flowers you find to press this year. 

Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. The Dancing Herbalist posts on this blog every Thursday. For more of our posts, join us on Patreon. Jillian also presents regular live classes in The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online. For more learning opportunities or to work one-on-one with Jillian with her wellness and herbal consultations visit The Dancing

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