3 Ways to Preserve Your Favorite Flowers

A bouquet of dried flower.

photo courtesy of pixabay

by Heather Stone

Preserving the beauty of the flower garden is easily accomplished when you use one of these three techniques for drying flowers. Dried flowers are beautiful in wreaths, as bouquets or just a small reminder of the past growing season or a special moment.

 

A few things to remember before you begin.

  • Cut flowers in the morning hours, after the dew has dried. Try picking flowers that are not fully open or mature.
  • Remove all foliage.
  • Group your blossoms into small bundles or dry as individual flowers.

 

  1. Hanging to dry

The most common and probably the easiest way to dry flowers is by hanging small groupings or individual stems upside down to dry. Hang your flowers in a cool, dark, dry, indoor spot with good air circulation. When flowers are done drying out, they will feel dry and stiff to the touch. Air drying flowers can take several days or even weeks, depending on conditions and the types of flowers you are drying.

A bundle of dried lavender.

photo courtesy of pixabay

  1. Pressing

The best flowers for pressing are those that are naturally more flat, like daisies, violas, asters and nasturtium. After choosing your flowers, place them between two sheets of plain white paper, newspaper or tissues. Avoid using paper towels. The texture from the paper towel can leave an imprint on the flower. Place the sheets of paper inside a heavy book. Weight the book down with other books, a weight or bricks. This method usually takes a few weeks.

 

  1. Microwaving

If you want to dry your flowers quickly, microwaving is the technique to use. Place your chosen flowers minus their stems in a microwave-safe container. Cover them in silica sand (available at craft stores) and microwave for one minute on high. Do not cover your container. Continue microwaving at 30-60 sec. intervals until the flowers are dry. Leave the flowers in the mixture for 24 hours to ensure they are fully dry.

You can also preserve your flowers in silica sand without microwaving them. Simply cover flowers with silica sand and leave them to dry. This can take around 2-5 days, depending on the species. Silica sand will help maintain the pristine color of your blossoms.

 

To keep your dried flowers from fading, it’s best if you place them out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources, like stovetops, heater vents and fireplaces.

 

Use your dried flowers in bouquets, wreaths or framed. Pressed flowers make beautiful note cards, pressed petal paper, candles or even tucked inside a locket or phone case.

A bouquet of dried flowers.

photo courtesy of pixabay

 

Fifth Annual Boulder Bee Festival

Poster for the Boulder Bee Festival.

Saturday, September 28th marks the fifth annual Boulder Bee Festival.  This family-friendly festival will be filled with educational activities, live music, face painting, crafts, prizes and more. This year there will be two not to miss performances by Jeff & Paige at 10 am and 12 pm.

 

Buzz on down to Central Park from 10 am to 2 pm to join in the fun.  Stop by the BBB Seed tent and say hello!

 

Bee there or bee square!

 

 

5 Easy Tips for Successfully Planting Grass Seed

Five easy tips for successfully planting grass seed.

 

by Sam Doll

Now that fall is nearly upon us, it’s time to start thinking about planting grass seeds! Don’t know what you are doing? Don’t worry. We are here to help. Here are our 5 tips to successfully plant grass seed this season!

1.      The Season Matters

While some warm-weather grasses, like bermudagrass, should be planted in early summer, most grasses need mild weather to successfully germinate and survive. Freezes and harsh heat can kill off your baby grass before it has a chance to become established. Late Spring and early Fall, when the soil temperature is between 50 to 80 degrees, is the best time to plant most grass seeds.

2.      Find the Right Seed

Find the grass that will suit your lifestyle and location. Some mixes, like our Green Manure and Cool Season Cover Crop, are great for restoring the soil nutrients in your soil. Some, like our Colorado Supreme Turf Grass Mix, are better for heavy foot traffic. Native and drought-tolerant grasses are great for creating a sustainable and low-maintenance landscape. Make sure to consider your soil type, climate, amount of sun, and intended use when picking a grass mix.

We have a wide variety of grass mixes that will suit all your needs.

3.      Prepare Your Soil

Once you’ve chosen your site, use a shovel or a sod cutter to remove the existing plants and grass from the area. Remove any debris and rocks you see, till the soil, and fill in any low spots. You want your soil to be broken into pebble sized particles.

Rake the site to even out the soil and remove small debris. Be careful when bringing in new topsoil to make sure it doesn’t contain unwanted weed seeds.

Optional: You can send a soil sample to your local extension office to have it tested to see if you need any soil amendments. As for pH, you generally want to keep the soil between 6.0 and 7.0.

4.      Seed and Fertilize

Once your site is prepped, it’s time to seed. Using a drop spreader or a broadcast spreader, spread half the seed lengthwise over your site, then use the other half and spread crosswise over your site.  A recommended seeding rate will be listed on the seed tag.

Feeding with starter (weak) fertilizer the same day as you spread seed will provide proper nutrients for early growth and establishment. Make sure the site stays moist, but not soggy, through germination.

5.      Maintenance

Different mixes require different maintenance. Generally, once the grass reaches 5-6 inches (for turf type), it is recommended to cut it to encourage even growth. Water and fertilize as needed.

 

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

by Heather Stone

Photo of a hummingbird in flight.

Photo courtesy of pixabay – skeeze

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is one of the most commonly recognized hummingbirds in North America, especially in the eastern half of the country where they spend their summers. They are the only hummingbird to breed east of the Great Plains. Commonly found in open woods, forest edges, parks, gardens and yards their familiar green and red plumage, make them easy to identify.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are 3-3.75 inches in length and weigh around 10-13 ounces with a life span of about 4-6 years. These speedy little birds flap their wings 53 times per second, can hover in mid-air and fly upside down and backward. The males have a striking bright red or red-orange iridescent throat. The males’ upperparts and head are bright green. The female’s underparts are plain white and upperparts green, but they lack the brilliant red throat of the male.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feed mostly on nectar and insects. They are strongly attracted to red and orange flowers, like those of trumpet vine, red columbine, bee balm, scarlet sage and many Penstemon varieties. They happily feed from nectar feeders too.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are solitary birds that only come together to mate. The female builds her cup-shaped nest about 10-20 feet above ground in a well-camouflaged area of a shrub or tree.  Here she will commonly produce 1-2 broods of 2 white eggs per year. The incubation period is 10-16 days. The female, alone, will care for the young for 2-3 weeks before they are mature enough to leave the nest.

In early fall, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird will begin its migration to Mexico & Central America crossing over 500 miles of water in their nonstop journey across the Gulf of Mexico. They can become a little more aggressive near food sources in late summer as they begin preparing for the journey.

To attract more of these lovely birds to your yard keep a clean and full nectar feeder, plant more nectar-rich flowers in their favorite colors of orange and red, limit insecticide use and provide a water source such as a mister or shallow fountain for these birds bathe and preen in.

Let us help you plant more nectar-rich hummingbird attracting flowers with our Wildflowers for Hummingbirds Mix.