Thursday, 26 November 2015

Gardening with ME: pressed flowers & foliage - a new gardening-related hobby?

It started with a Tweet. The above tweet in fact from Caro Shrives @UrbanVegPatch, last Saturday.

Actually, it started before that even. In my last post I talked about having to face some hard facts about how much more I have to limit my gardening, as well as much else in my life, if I want to get well. Lots of rest is needed, for months, possibly longer. This leaves me with a dilemma - what do I do with all this 'resting time'? I'm not good at resting. Unlike some people with ME, I can still read and watch TV a bit, but there is only so much of that you can do before even that becomes boring and I get restless.

I've been looking for a hobby for several months that is low energy use both physically and mentally, but was really struggling to find anything that appealed. Suggestions from friends included embroidery and knitting, but any kind of needle and I don't get along. Then last Sunday I saw the above tweet from Caro. Wow, that's pretty.

I asked Caro a bit about the process of drying flowers and foliage. You can guess the next bit. A big light shone over my head and I saw that this might be something I could take on as a hobby. I loved what Caro was doing and it really appealed to me. I have plants, kitchen paper, heavy gardening books. It's GARDENING related. And it is fairly low energy use. I could do this. It would be an interesting way to capture the plants I grow and love.

So, I have picked up a small scrap book to start with, and today I picked my first flowers and foliage. It was fun to take a gentle walk through the garden and it makes you look at plants from a different perspective.

L-R: leaves of Florence Fennel, Geranium 'Ann Folkard', Clematis cirrhosa 'Freckles', Sage leaves, leaves of Potentilla 'Monarchs Velvet' and Salvia guaranitica 'Blue Enigma'.

Being late in the year they are a little past their best, but this is just to start with and see how I go. I've placed the leaves on paper towels and put these in the bottom book below. I then stacked all the others on top. They are drying on the lounge window sill as it's quite warm and dry, so hopefully a good environment for pressing flowers and foliage.

I need to check them every couple of days and change the paper towel if needed. You need to get all the moisture out. Apparently it can take 10 days to 2 weeks for them to dry. I've ordered some gummed linen tape, as suggested by Caro, and will use that to stick them into my scrapbook when the dried leaves and flowers are ready.

So, now it's waiting time. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I'll do a bit more resting.

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I welcome your thoughts and comments. And if you blog about gardening with ME/a chronic illness, do link to this post in your blog and leave a comment below with a link to your post, so we can all find each other.

About Gardening with ME

Twitter hashtag: #GardeningWithME

Recent Gardening with ME posts...
  Gardening with ME: facing some hard facts
  Gardening with ME: then and now


  1. What a wonderful idea for you and as you say, it's garden related! I can imagine you having all sorts of plants drying under your stacks of RHS books!

  2. If you want a related artistic outlet, have a look at the very pretty pictures that Jenny Ashmore makes out of pressed leaves and petals:

  3. Pressing plants and flowers is something I have thought of for a long time too – I just haven’t got around to it – too busy! But I could make so many things out of the finished products, once they are ready so yes, that’s something that would suit me too! Good luck with your new hobby :-)

  4. Hi Julieanne, Thanks so much for mentioning me in this post, I'm truly thrilled that my tweet inspired you. My flowers and leaves have pressed beautifully within the 10 day timeframe but I found an extra day without the books, but still between paper sheets, allowed some of the 'juicier' material to dry completely. Incidentally, Louise Curley (Wellywoman blog) advices using blotting paper rather than kitchen paper for more fragile flowers as the kitchen paper may leave indentations on the flowers. I'd love to know how your new hobby works out, Caro x

    1. Thanks for this, and all the other info you gave me Caro. If I continue with the hobby I'll look into getting blotting paper. I am going to be doing a follow up post shortly


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