Preserving fresh flowers has been a passion of mankind since the beginning of time. Dried flowers, herbs, leaves, roots. Used for consumption, decoration, healing and even protection.
There is something magic about preserving mother's nature creations for seasons to come or capture the memory of the moment you received, or picked the flowers.
Preserved and dried flowers are used for garlands, table flower designs, wreaths, swags, wedding bouquets, home and commercial decor.
When I discovered dried flowers in Japan, I later found a Florida gift shop that carried Holland dried flower bouquets and roses. This led me to dried flower's Importer Johan Zjil who pioneered this industry.
He thought this "new concept" for America would be well accepted and was correct. His retail endevours were not very succesfull; may be because he lacked a good designer, or the flower style he produced was a little off the USA trend.
Neverthelss he became a succesfull importer and wholesaler thanks to his sons John and Harry. For many years they experimented with flowers and foliage preservation establishing a new "niche" in the flower preservation industry.
I listed below the methods/processes used to preserve fresh flowers. Feel free to email me for your favorite way to preserve flowers or for the best sources in your part of the world.gre
Dried flowers are obtained hanging them upside down in a preferably hot dark room. You can dry flowers in your home, in fact I started my business from it. (Messy)
The commercially produced dried flowers are generally of higher quality because of special dehydrators systems. Holland has been the leader for many years in this industry, even though most dried flower ventures failed at the end.
I used to import dried flowers directly from Holland. Most popular then; roses, larkspur, lavander, dudinea, plumosum, pepperberries, strawflowers, hydrangeas, salaal leaves, tree fern, cedar, ammobium, rice flower, eucalyptus.
I experimented once with a food dehidrators. It was fun. You can dry small flower and greens. When you dry the petals it gives out a wonderful fragrance.
Another method for drying is silica gel. Immerse the flowers in the powder. Messy and expansive my experience.
The dried method has it's beauty, one disadvantage is the product shrinking to 50% 40% it's original size.
I have several contacts from these early days who still carry on as dried flowers wholesalers and importers.
Many visitors ask if their wedding bouquet can be freeze dried. I know of one such operation close to Ft Lauderdale. Let me explain the process.
Freeze-drying (also known as lyophilisation) is a dehydration process typically used to preserve a perishable material or make the material more convenient for transport.
Freeze-drying works freezing the material and then reducing the surrounding pressure to allow the frozen water in the material to sublime directly from the solid phase to the gas phase.(Less shrinkage)
My research of the history of freeze drying in the flower world, lead to the Smithsonian Institute who pioneered the freeze drying studies with animals and later flowers.
The first commercial venture began in Texas around 1970 - 1980. They devoloped a line of freeze dried roses.
Special freeze drying machines were developed for the flower industry. Smaller and more affordable machines compared to the existing ones. Price tag fro $7,000, $28,000 - $40,000 dollars and up.
They promised that you could freeze dry roses in three days. Unfortunately was not true. It took 10 to 30 days. If you lost the power, you lost the rose's load. Unless you had a back generator.
If the roses looked fantastic as they first came out, they would age quickly, loosing the color, and be a little fragile. The solution was to add to add polymers (toxic spray) for protection. Too much trouble for me, even though the polymers gave the roses more longevity.
I bought them for a while. We created a wedding with freeze dried roses back in 1990. At Disney world. Funny is that the workers helped themselves with the flowers at the end of the wedding thinking they would be tossed away like fresh flowers. They were fooled by their freshness. Our client was refunded the $2,400 flower tag and purchased more from us.
Most commercial ventures for freeze dried products closed down, but still exist in the market. As a matter of fact Google ads display freeze dried products. Please let me know if better machines have been developed, because I want to give you the most updated information.
Preservation of fresh roses has gone a long way in the past 30 years.
We refer to preserved flowers and foliage to the product which has been preserved fresh through a solution of glycerine.
This system allows the foliage or flower to keep it's fresh look for seasons to come. It is my favorite way to have a fresh looking arrangement for seasons. They also tend to age, but easily keep them for years.
I just returned from the June 2011 Miami floriculture show and a new line of preserved rose corsages and boutannieres has been released for the mass industry.
Kenneth Turner, one the foremost English floral decorators love using them to create his organic floral creations. His designs are purchased by royalty, rock stars, actors and the lovers of exceptional floral decor.
Not just roses can be preserved, also carnations, callas, orchids, hydrangeas, salaal leaves , palm fronds, exotic foliage, proteas, and more.
I enjoy creating flower arrangements with preserved flowers because they look so real.
My personal feeling is that they will become more popular as time goes by. It is a great way to keep a wedding flower bouquet for years.
Stay tuned for updates. If you are looking for quality preserved roses, please contact me.
LINKS TO PRESERVED FLORAL PRODUCTS