With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought this might be the perfect time to blog about roses — their meanings and how to dry them, in case anyone wants to preserve their bouquets! Years ago, I was asked to be a part of putting together a series of gardening books for Time-Life Books. My floral business was really centered all around roses, so I chose to work on the Rose book in the series. It was my first chance at being a contributor to a book in my chosen craft, and I was more than happy to help them out. These books have been out of print for a long time now, but the information is timeless. My specialty was drying the roses so that they looked fresh. I had it down to a science — usually drying 1000 stems at a time, every 2 to 3 weeks. Any thing that did not meet highest standard was turned into potpourri for sachets. When you are in a very small business you learn not to waste a single bit of anything! So, here are a few of my favorite drying techniques from the Roses book, and some fun facts on rose color:
First up: Choosing the right color rose to convey your sentiment.
The rose is always the flower most associated with being a gift of romance and love. And, why not? With its beauty and beautiful scent, who wouldn’t love to receive them?
This colors and meanings chart will help you choose the perfect bouquet of roses for your loved one. Rose color was used as a form of communication from ancient times through the Victorian period, all but lost to us now. Here is the meaning of each:
Next: Enjoy your roses! Lift them out of the container each day and trim an inch from the stem, replace the water with fresh. After a few days, when the roses are half opened, is the perfect time to preserve them. Any longer in the water will cause the roses to open too much, and the effect will not be quite as good.
To dry, simply bundle the roses in small bunches of eight or ten stems at the most, and hang upside down in a room with dim light, but good air circulation. Use a fan to help if you need to. The perfect temperature is around 70, and low humidity is a must. I like to use elastic bands to bundle them, because they will hold fast to the stems as they shrink slightly when drying. The drying
process will take 2-3 weeks, and then you will have your roses for years! I like to pull the outermost petals off to expose the more vibrantly colorful ones just inside making them appear fresh. The greenery will also hold its color for at least a year when dried this way. The rose color will intensify during the drying process, and sometimes even change completely as they dry — pinks become coral, orange becomes red, white becomes more creme. Hope you will try this!
Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day!
Update: I just saw this great way of rooting roses from stems. Simply insert the stem in a potato before planting at about 3 inches below top of soil. In about 2 months you will have a new rose bush! What a great way of recycling a Valentine’s Day bouquet!