Many ornamental grasses, some of which are referred to in Chapter 13, are both easy to grow and to dry. Then there is strawberry corn (actually a popcorn) with its interesting little mahogany-colored, strawberry-shaped ears, and squaw or calico corn in queerly variegated colors of black, slate blue, yellow, orange and red. Both dry well.
To dry flowers for winter use tie them in small bunches with heads loosely arranged. Hang them upside down in a cool, shaded place. The best time to cut flowers of the daisy family is just as buds begin to open. Gypsophila and statice should be cut when flowers are well formed, globe amaranth when fully matured, and grasses before seeds mature. Before materials are completely dry, if you will arrange a part of them on a table or shelf with the heads and upper stems hanging over the edge, you will have some graceful arched stems to work with.
Instructions for drying flowers in three dimensions will be found in Chapter 20.
FUN WITH FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS
Occasional deviations from the commoner conceptions of bouquet making will make flower arranging more interesting
to children-little low bouquets around tall candlesticks, for instance, floating blossoms of scented leaves in fingerbowls for special occasions, or showoff bouquets in shadowbox picture frames.
Arrangements under water are a deviation of special charm. One method is to make a compact arrangement, tied firmly together, with something heavy like lead curtain weights or modeling clay attached at the base to hold the flowers down. This is then put in the bottom of a glass bowl or goblet and water is poured in carefully until flowers are about one-third below the surface.
Another submerged arrangement is called a "bubble bouquet." Make this by arranging, tying and weighting flowers, and placing them on a small shallow dish. Lower the bouquet into a large pan of water and invert a glass globe or jar over it. Then lift the whole thing out of the water by the base, taking care not to move the inverted globe. The flowers are soon glittering with bubbles.
Unorthodox containers can often take the place of conventional vases. Such nonsense as straw hats turned upside down (with a bowl in the crown), bird cages, bamboo rafts, hol-lowed-out logs, conch and other shells, toy wheelbarrows and boats, pottery donkeys and birds, pumpkin shells and hollowed-out red apples and things of that sort can make lighthearted fun out of flower arranging.
Stage-setting arrangements, involving little figures and background drops, have particular appeal for the imaginative child. His own playthings, such as dolls, animals and mechanical toys, may be substituted for the serious objets dart used by adults.