Want to preserve flowers? It's simple, use glycerine

There are several methods of preserving flowers, foliage and seed-heads in a garden for later use during winter season and such small efforts can reap excellent rewards.The first and easiest method of preserving leaves and sprays of leaves is known as the glycerine method.

Preparing the solution

Make a solution by taking glycerine and warm water (Warm water mixes more easily with glycerine than cold water) in 1:2 ratio. Pour the solution in a wide-necked jar or bucket up to a height of four inches and place stems, sprays and foliage that need to be preserved. Sprays and foliage of hard-stemmed trees like beech, magnolia rhododendron and soap nut should be picked by the end of July (when the leaves are full and hard) as the sap is still rising and thus can absorb more moisture.

Tips to follow

If left until the sap gets back to the roots, the absorption will not be good and therefore, the preservation will not be successful. It will help if the ends of the stems are split up to an inch to allow easy absorption. Leave them in the solution for two weeks. The leaves will either turn transparent or golden brown. Take them out and dry them on a newspaper. Remember, they should not be put into water at any time once they are preserved. Grasses, sprays of black berry, wild roses, ivy and small shrubs can also be preserved in this manner.CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN

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