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We are having a glorious Indian Summer here in the Pacific Northwest. The summer light has shifted, the days have shortened and fall has started to creep in. But, summer, while slow to start, is hanging on with beautiful warn sunny days that have refused to slip into overcast and rain. Which has made end of summer rituals trail off a little longer and I am just getting around to making these DIY dried hydrangea arrangements that will grace our home for months to come.
If you’ve tried drying hydrangeas earlier in the summer, you know that the petals shrivel and curl in on themselves. While not unattractive, this doesn’t make a flawless dried hydrangea. And, the trick is, you just tried too early. To make beautiful DIY dried hydrangea arrangements you need to wait until the end of summer or early fall.
You may ask, why that makes any difference, but trust me, after making dozens of arrangements, end of summer makes all the difference. Earlier in the year, the flower petals are too soft and delicate to hold up to drying. You need to wait for the flowers to get a tougher, slightly thicker texture and some of their late summer coloring. You’re shooting for blooms that have a texture more similar to that of the leaves. If you wait for the right timing your DIY dried hydrangea arrangements will start looking like something out of a magazine.
Making the arrangement couldn’t be simpler which makes it a fun and easy project. Once you’ve waited for the right timing, you’ve done the hard part. Isn’t that true of so many things in life? All you have left to do after that is cut the flowers, and put them in a container of your choice. That’s really it. With no other intervention your flowers will dry into a beautiful arrangement over a few days and last for months.
One other tip I found helpful is when your arrangement isn’t looking right, use a rubber band. No really! Specifically when I use pitchers as vases, due to their wide mouth openings, the hydrangea blooms can fall over leaving large gaps between them. To remedy this, I simply hold the hydrangeas in place as I figure out how I want them to be arranged, take them out in that grouping, and tie up the stems with a rubber band and put it back into the vase. You can’t see the rubber band once it is in the vase and it will hold the flowers in place. If you have a clear vase, you could do this same thing but use green flower tape or wire which will blend in with the stems.
One note that I’ve learned is little critters love hydrangeas as much as we do and they often hide in the flowers. You can either cut your hydrangeas and leave them outside to let the critters make their own way out of the flowers. Or you can just know that when making your arrangements, you will have to round up the little guys and bring them back out to the garden. I choose to do this over smushing them as I find spiders to be helpful in taking care of other pests in my garden. Plus, they didn’t choose to come into my home, I brought them in so I can bring them back out.