2.With the flower face-down on the borax,
the material is pushed carefully around it with the fingers
underneath, around the sides and on top. More flowers are
added in the same way, taking care that they do not touch
one another. If flowers are dried without stems, single blossoms
like those of zinnias, Shasta daisies, hollyhocks and daffodils
may be put into the borax face-up. More perfect contours result
from this system, since the drying material may be worked into
interior spaces with more precision and thoroughness.
After each individual flower is well packed, borax is distributed between the blossoms and over the top to a depth of about one-half inch. Stems need not be covered. Certain spike blossoms, such as delphinium and larkspur, must be
placed on their sides. Each individual variety really requires a different treatment. This the worker must figure out for himself.
4. Flowers take varying lengths of time to dry. Dogwood,
for instance, takes only a couple of days, and will develop
brown spots if left in much longer. Ageratum, daisies, baby
zinnias and delphinium need only two or three days. Other
flowers may take as long as two or three weeks, and too early
removal will result in limp specimens. The ideal time for re
moval is the moment the flower reaches a papery-dry stage.
Experiment by taking out test blossoms. Keeping a notebook
record on each flower will simplify future operations.
5. Remove flowers from borax by gently working the fingers
under them, and lifting carefully. Shake blossoms lightly. Brush
off borax that clings with a soft brush or wad of cotton.
Not all flowers can be dried successfully by this method, but many do come through beautifully. They are not quite the same as fresh flowers, of course, but from a distance could be mistaken for them.
Certain leaves can also be dried by this method. Ferns, euonymus, coleus and many autumn leaves do very well.
GLYCERINE PRESERVATION OF LEAVES
Another way of practically immortalizing certain leaves is by the glycerine process. This keeps them from drying out, but changes their colors to varying shades of brown. Stems are pounded at the tips for two or three inches, to assure liquid absorption. Then they are put in a solution of one part glycerine to two parts water. It takes two weeks, or sometimes longer, for the foliage to change color clear to the edges.
Leaves so treated are used without water in dried arrangements, and last almost indefinitely. Most commonly preserved this way are magnolia, laurel, galax, ivy and beech. Leaves of
barberry, forsythia, iris, viburnum, crabapple and lily-of-the-valley also respond quite successfully.