When the summer is over and your garden winds down for the year, you can prolong your enjoyment of many flowers and leaves by preserving them for indoor arrangements. You can collect leaves and flowers and dry them at any time of year, but fall is the time that deciduous trees burst into color. You can add these leaves to dried arrangements with flowers from your garden and use them as centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table and in vases around your home.
Pick colorful leaves from trees or wait until they drop to the ground.
Place several of your leaves between two sheets of waxed paper, cut to a size that will fit on your ironing board. Iron with a dry iron. This method preserves leaves immediately, so you can use them in arrangements right away. If you're not in a hurry, press your leaves between the pages of a large book. Use waxed paper to prevent the pages from becoming wet or discolored.
Dry moist leaves in glycerin and water by adding 1/2 tsp. of glycerin to 1 pint of water in a vase or jar. Stir the mixture and then add your leaves. Leave at least 3 inches of stem on the leaves. Remove the leaves after one week and use in arrangements immediately.
Dry flowers with 4- to 6-inch stems attached by creating small bundles (about 12 flower stalks) and tying them with string. Flowers such as lavender, basil and other fragrant herbs are well suited to this method.
Hang your flower bundles from a clothesline in a dark, warm, dry, well-ventilated place. Most flowers will dry within one week.
Preserve loose flowers with short stems, such as calendula or gardenias, by scattering them on top of a screen you have supported on bricks or blocks of wood in a dark, warm, dry, well-ventilated place.
Stir your drying flowers every day for one to two weeks. When they are crunchy to the touch, you can use them in potpourris and other craft projects.
Preserve some types of flowers in sand. Examples of flowers that do well with this method include roses, tulips, marigolds and snapdragons. Gently bury your flowers in white sand that you have placed into deep cardboard boxes. Keep your box in a dark, warm, dry, well-ventilated place for up to three weeks and then carefully remove the flowers.