Over the past few days, I have become acutely aware of autumn’s waning beauty and how it will all soon be covered in snow. We’ve had some unusually warm weather in our neck of the woods, so I’ve done a bit of foraging on my walks. I don’t always know what I’ll do with the bits that I gather, but I don’t worry about that too much. I just carry a small bag and gather the things that attract my eye. I collected pinecones to use for Christmas projects and decorations, some pods and thistles that might be interesting to draw, grasses that can be used for making brushes, acorn caps that can be used as little natural paint pots, sticks that can be brush handles and dip pens, and leaves and flowers for pressing.
I also took advantage of a pretty afternoon and got the garden beds in the front ready for winter. I trimmed the hydrangea bushes, cut back the clematis, raked out the leaves, and pulled remnants of the summer weeds. It didn’t take too long and it feels good knowing that the garden will be ready when the snow melts.
When collecting leaves and flowers for pressing, you want to look for foliage that is still supple and hydrated. It’s best to even pull them off the tree, so they are fresh. You also want to look for leaves and flowers that are pretty examples. You don’t want to be pressing leaves or flowers that are bug-eaten, torn, etc.
I collected a few green oak leaves and a few leaves that were sort of burnt sienna. Those were a little on the dry side, so we’ll see how they do.
I cut a limelight hydrangea bloom for pressing along with the leaves, but I think it might be too dry. It was free to try and it’ll be pretty if it works out!
Violet wanted to point out that some of the grasses I collected would be excellent cat toys.
I finally had to put her out of the studio because she kept reaching up a grabbing them off of the desk and would then drag them around the floor.
I was using wax paper for pressing leaves and flowers, but I was informed by a botanist that wax paper will retain moisture, so she suggested I transfer them over to printer paper, coffee filters, and a few other options listed in her comment below. I love that I’m always learning things and my knowledgeable readers are kind enough to share.
So, I pressed these in wax paper in a thick book, but I’m going to slip some printer paper in based on her advice.
I repeated this process with all of my flowers and leaves, pressing them in the same book.
There has been one hydrangea in my front garden that was in full summer when all of the other blooms were dried and ready to be cut back for the winter. I loved that little bloom and the wonderful reminder that we don’t all bloom at the same time. We bloom in our own good time and it doesn’t matter what everyone around us is doing. It doesn’t detract from our beauty.
So, I clipped my late bloomer when I was cleaning the garden …
…so I could press it as a reminder. I shared this on Instagram and one of my followers replied, “Instead of bloom where you’re planted, bloom in your own good time.” And that’s exactly right.
I put the book at the bottom of my reading stack, which is always a pretty healthy stack of books that certainly provide enough weight when pressing leaves and flowers.
They’ll stay in the book for about a week and then I’ll peek in on them to see how they are doing.
I’m not pressing leaves and flowers every fall, but I like to do it when I think about it. It’s just a simple way to enjoy the beauty of nature and literally gather inspiration.
Have you tried pressing leaves or flowers lately?
You can find other fall projects, recipes, and decorating ideas HERE.