Pressing Flowers and Leaves

Picked at their peak and then preserved, beautiful pressed flowers and leaves have many decorating and craft uses.

Use them to embellish cards and stationery, arrange them on paper for a lovely wall decoration, or sandwich them between glass panes to make coasters with a botanical touch.

There are a variety of plant presses available, from portable versions intended for hikers to larger ones designed for professional use. But by following the instructions below, you can even press flowers and leaves between the pages of an ordinary book.

Flat or fine blossoms and leaves, such as pansies, violas, verbena, Queen Anne’s lace, and many ferns and herbs, press especially well. Pressed botanicals tend to fade over time, so blooms with more intense colours offer the best results.

• Flower and leaf specimens
• Scissors
• Book to press items inside

1. Gather clean specimens that are free of blemishes and spots. Collect flowers on sunny days when they are not wet from rain or dew. Never gather species that are protected or endangered; if in doubt, check local regulations.
2. Snip stems close to the base, or leave flowers on stems; place the flowers face down in a telephone book.
3. Close and weight the book, and leave undisturbed for a week to 10 days.
4. Open the book slowly, and you’ll find papery pressed flowers.