Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pressings . . .

One of my most loved past times is collecting, drying, pressing and mounting plant samples. I started my own herbarium ( collection of dried flora) 10 years ago when I went back to study, for part of my horticultural course I had to collect 100 different species of trees, shrubs, natives, annuals and bulbs, identify them correctly, dry and press them and write the corect infomation, including their latin names ! I found a passion I never knew I had, since then I have continued to add to my herbarium which has come in very handy a number of times when I needed to identify a plant.
I find some of the pressings are so beautiful I want to frame them so I can enjoy them all the time ! 
Pansy flowers are so easy to press - pick up a book out of my library and you more then likely will have a pansy or two drop into your lap, all dried softly crinkled and smelling faintly of the garden - summer memories ..  
Even seed heads from common little garden plants look amazing - their beauty lasts for such a long time, especially if the herbarium is kept in a dry airy place, don`t ever get it damp as some plants can mildue very quickly.
I use tiny daps of a clear craft glue to attach the plant material to the acid-free paper once I make certain all of the plant is completely pressed, laying the plant on the paper in a natural position. If the leaves are to long or wide cut them straight along the edge of the paper. Another thing to look for is the different undersides of leaves, turn one over to display. 
The job I would give my back teeth for is to work in a famous herbarium like Kew Gardens in the UK or maybe at the museum in Auckland here in NZ - anywhere there is a pile of dried, dusty old plants . .

2 comments:

HENHOUSE POTTERY said...

I gave you a blogger award over on my blog. Go check it out when you have time.

I love the pressed flowers, btw.

Comfrey Cottages said...

what a lovely project Marcia xx