Enjoying your garden all year long

A two-dimensional bouquet allows you to delight in your garden’s bounty even on the snowiest winter day.  It can be as simple and graphic as a single plant like those in old herbariums or a complex arrangement of roses and lacy leaves.  Start now while your garden is offering an assortment of beautiful leaves and flowers.


Blotter paper and/or plain newsprint*

Brown cardboard

Flower press or heavy books

Selection of herbal leaves and flowers

Paper for backing

Small brush


White glue

Cut the blotter paper, newsprint, and cardboard to the size of the press or books.

Pick flowers and leaves, preferably those that are relatively flat, when they are at their peak.  Many-petaled flowers can be plucked judiciously to make them flatter; others can be gently flattened with your hand.  Stems and flowers may be pressed separately if necessary.  In selecting material, think about texture, shape, and color as you would in composing a fresh bouquet.

Place a piece of cardboard on the bottom of the press or a book; add several layers of newsprint.  For particularly moist specimans, add a piece of blotter paper.  Arrange the plant material on the
paper, making sure no leaves are touching.  If necessary, remove some leaves or bend stems for a better line.  Cover with another piece of blotter paper and/or a layer of newsprint, then another piece of cardboard.  Repeat layers.  Top with a final piece of cardboard and the top of the press or several heavy books.

Check within twenty-four hours to make sure they are arranged as you wish.  Minor changes can be made before the plants dry.  After two weeks, remove those that are completely dry and store in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.  Leave those not completely dry for another week.

Compose your bouquet on backing paper of your choice.  Using a small brush and tweezers apply glue piece by piece and press the plant material into place.  Allow to dry thoroughly.  Frame the dried arrangement, leaving enough room between the backing and the glass so the leaves and flowers aren’t crushed.  The colors (but not necessarily the charm) will eventually fade, but hanging the “bouquet” out of direct sunlight will prolong its life.

*available at art supply stores

Get in touch at emelietolley@aol.com

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© photos Chris Mead; drawings Don Wise, text Emelie Tolley



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