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PART ONE: HOW TO PRESS FLOWERS

Updated: Aug 6

After the initial shock of coronavirus causing our busy wedding and events calender to pretty much disappear overnight we have spent the time further developing our pressed flower range. We originally expanded into pressed flower art works whilst trying to address a more sustainable practice of floristry. Since then it has grown in to one of our favourite parts of our business and we create bespoke artworks, sell pieces on our shop and make large scale pressed flower installations for commercial and private use. We wanted to give our readers our top tips and a step by step guide to pressing your own flowers at home. Hopefully you will have acquired one more skill when life goes back to normal and there will be a few more homemade art works on your walls!


WHICH FLOWERS ARE THE BEST FOR PRESSING?


The joy of pressing flowers is that you can have a go at pressing absolutely anything! We find that sometimes the most unexpected plants press so beautifully and surprise us! We are always scouring the grounds for beautiful foliage, leaves and flowers to press. These really range from foraged weeds to flowers that have been returned after a wedding and that we hate to waste.


Some of our favourite flowers to press through the seasons are:


SPRING - Iris petals, pansies, forget me not, violet, fern, fritillaria, hellebore, tulip

SUMMER - Astrantia, rose petals, scabiosa, nigella, carnations, delphiniums, geum, sweet peas

AUTUMN - Diablo physiocarpus, chocolate cosmos, dahlia petals, wild grasses, geranium, chrysanthemum, crocosmia, trailing jasmine

WINTER - Eucalyptus, trailing ivy, pine, ranunculus petals, anemones


DOES THE SIZE OF THE FLOWER AFFECT HOW WELL IT PRESSES?


We find that smaller flowers or the petals from a larger flower give the best results. In our experience the fleshier the flower or foliage the harder it will be to press, this is because it holds too much moisture. These often go mouldy and lead to very disappointing pressed flower reveals!


WHERE CAN YOU PICK FLOWERS AND WHAT ARE THE RULES?


If you are lucky enough to have a garden, excellent! You can slowly experiment with what presses well through the seasons! For those who want to pick flowers in nature please abide by the following rules:

CULTIVATED FLOWERS - It is illegal to pick any flowers grown by councils (such as in parks and on roundabouts and verges) or on private properties (unless you have had prior permission from the owner).


WILDFLOWERS - Picking wildflowers in Britain has caused much confusion and controversy. If you want to pick leaves and flower stems this is absolutely allowed however it is illegal to uproot (dig up) any wild plant without permission from the landowner. In addition you cannot pick any part of a flower that is in a site of conservation such as an SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest). For more information and clarity one of our favourite charities Plant life gives a very clear summary please click here



MINDFUL PICKING IN NATURE


We are in awe of nature and all its beauty so please respect it and preserve it! Please pick mindfully and in moderation!

WHAT KIT LIST DO YOU NEED TO PRESS FLOWERS?


- Blotting paper

- A Flower Press (You can buy these or we have made these ourselves with ply board, a drill and wingnuts. If you don’t have a flower press using hard back books will also do)

- Newspaper

- Cardboard

- Scissors

- A bag or basket for collecting your flowers to press

WHAT ARE THE STEPS FOR PRESSING FLOWERS?


STEP ONE – Grab a basket or bag if you have any florist scissors fab!


STEP TWO – If you’re picking from your garden observe each plant and look at whether you think they will be good for pressing. We usually like to think about what we want to make in advance thinking about size and colour before you pick them to insure minimal wastage! If you’re out in nature follow the rules on where you can pick whilst also being mindful! Make sure its not raining as you want the flowers to be as dry as possible when they go into the press!




STEP THREE – Flora and Forna identification (if this is your thing!)


We love trying to learn the names of the plants and foliage we are pressing. Some of our favourite books for helping are:


- RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

- Collins Wild Flower Guide

- Wild About Weeds


STEP FOUR – Pressing your flowers


1) PRESSING WITH A FLOWER PRESS


- Open up your press

- Cut down bits of blotting paper to the size of your press

- Most presses have cardboard included. Please check that yours does. If it doesn’t cut down bits of cardboard to the size of your press.

- Lay a piece of cardboard

- Lay two pieces of newspaper

- Lay two pieces of blotting paper

- Place your flowers on the blotting paper. Insure you are not overcrowding the page and deconstruct the flowers if necessary.

- Lay another two pieces of blotting paper on top of the pressed flowers, please take care that they don’t get knocked and bruised

- Repeat the process until your press is full

- Close up your press ensuring the bolts are tightly done up


2) PRESSING WITH BOOKS


- Lay a piece of cardboard

- Lay two pieces of newspaper

- Lay two pieces of blotting paper

- Place flowers on to the blotting paper. Insure you are not overcrowding the page and deconstruct the flowers if necessary.

- Lay another two pieces of blotting paper on top of the pressed flowers, please take care that they don’t get knocked and bruised

- Repeat the process until you have pressed all your flowers

- Choose heavy books to put on top of your pressed flowers, this will allow you to achieve the same results as a Flower Press.



STEP FIVE - AVOID OPENING UP YOUR PRESS TOO EARLY!


Pressing flowers always takes longer that we expect! We usually allow around three weeks before opening up the press!

PART TWO: CREATING FLORAL ARTWORKS WITH YOUR PRESSED FLOWERS WILL FOLLOW THIS BLOG POST SHORTLY...



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FLOWER AND PRESS, 2020