It’s beginning to look a lot…

…like Christmas?!

It’s only July, but many of us here at Pfeiffer Nature Center have been preparing for our annual holiday wreath sale for months already.

white-pine-conesPreparing how, you say? By gathering and drying materials for the wreath decorations. So far I know we’ve collected several bags of pine cones from white pines. We also have many bunches of lamb’s ear and coronation gold yarrow drying in barns and basements in two counties. And probably other things I’m not yet aware of.

lambs-earYou may have plants in or near your house, wild or domestic, that would dry well and make beautiful additions to our wreaths. We’d love to have them.

A few ideas to get you started…

  • Pine cones large are great this year
  • statice – any color,
  • seeds from money plant/honesty plant/silver dollar ,
  • smoke bush (do their flowers dry well?)
  • seed heads from Siberian Iris, tree peony, or other interesting heads, and
  • seed pods from Kentucky Coffee Trees.
  • There are surely LOTS more. We try new things each year. Some dry beautifully, some don’t. Some hold up well, some don’t. We only use the ones that dry beautifully and hold up well on our wreaths.

    If you’ve not harvested flowers for drying before, here’s what you need to know.

  • Pick flowers BEFORE they are fully opened. They’ll continue to open a bit after they’re picked.
  • Pick the flowers when they are dry – not just after a rain or first thing in the morning when they’re dew-covered.
  • Pick the flowers with relatively long stems; you can always cut them shorter, but can’t make them longer!
  • Gather a small bunch (4-12, depending the on flower/stalk size) and wrap the end of the stalks with a rubber band. Make the rubber bank moderately tight. Run a portion of a partially-opened paper clip through the rubber band, and clip the other portion to a clothes hanger, a short piece of twine, or other object that will allow the bunch to hang upside-down.
  • Be sure that air can circulate around the bunches. Hang your bunches in a dry, dark place and wait. If your basement, barn, or other location isn’t dark, you can always aid that by hanging the bunches inside a paper bag, which both decreases light and allows moisture to escape.
  • If you gather things you’d like to donate to us for use on our wreaths, call our office (716.933.0187) or drop me an email-director(at)pfeiffernaturecenter(dot)org.