Warmer days bursting with plant life invite us outdoors to discover the lush budding landscape. Springtime is my favorite season for pressing plant specimens due their vibrant colorful foliage, intricate forms, and unyielding flexibility from early growth. Many woodland ferns, plants, and flowers press exceptionally well. Here are a few pictures of my excursion into the woods, (In the above photo Red Raspberry Leaves, Peonies Leaves, Woodland Ferns, Miniature Maple Leaves, and Mayapple are showcased).
Herbarium specimens can easily last for a 100 years if properly mounted and cared for. The art of preserving and mounting specimens is in a class of specialization all its own; however, the craft of pressing flowers is simple enough for childhood activity. My focus this week is collecting Mayapple leaves. For me, an old telephone book does the trick for flattening and absorbing the moisture of the plant. To finish the drying process, I simply place the telephone book under a weighted stack of (heavier) books for several weeks. The picture below is a grove of Mayapples I gathered from in early morning light (the dew was just evaporating from the leaves as I picked them).
Collecting and pressing plant specimens is a way to spend leisure time with family and friends while becoming familiar with herbs and botanicals in your area. Best of all, pressed botanicals have the potential to become artful statements in any home. Stay tuned to see how I utilize these Mayapples in my next series of 18th-century-inspired florals.