The Lost Art of Flower Pressing: Preserving the Color & Shape of Flowers

Posted on: August 8th, 2011 by
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Preserve roses by flower pressing, istockphoto, used with permission

Preserve roses by flower pressing, istockphoto, used with permission

Those who are regular readers of Aromatherapy Notes may have noticed the lack of posting in the last couple of weeks; this was due to a sudden family bereavement and, as many of you know, I am usually very reliable with my commitment to posting.  So, I apologize if you have missed my updates but I hope to be back on track for the foreseeable future.

However, sometimes a break away from the regular schedule opens up new ideas for articles and posts; as a writer, in addition to being an aromatherapist, I generally don’t have any problems in coming up with ideas for posts.  Some posts are planned well in advance whereas others may be put together on a spur of the moment.  Even when I am not at my keyboard, I may be “writing” an article in my head!  So recent events gave me the idea for today’s post, even though it may not strictly be an “aromatherapy” post.

Preserving the Color of a Flower

In the past couple of months I have written a couple of articles about preserving the scent of plants through processes such as maceration and, to some extent, the study of flower essences.  Scent is the dominant force in the practice of aromatherapy – but what about those that no longer have the ability to smell?  My grandmother, who is 98 years old, told me recently that she was no longer able to smell the fragrance of flowers, so I now make a point to choose flowers for their color and shape; color therapy is also a therapy in its own right.  So, it is possible to preserve the scent, color and shape of a flower!

People take the fragrance of flowers for granted and many people instinctively breathe in the aroma of a rose – yet not all roses are fragrant; I took note of this action just recently which led me to think about the preservation of the color of a rose (and other flowers) as oppose to the aroma.

Flower Pressing

As a child I used to press many different flowers in a “flower press”, an art that has somewhat been lost in the modern age in preference to our reliance on the computer for many of our leisure activities.  If you have an interest in aromatherapy, it should follow that you also have a natural interest in the flowers and plants from which essential oils are extracted from.  So why not preserve some of those flowers?  Wedding, funeral and other life event flowers are ideal for doing this and can help you to preserve the memories of  an event or loved one for years to come.

In addition, pressing flowers is easy.  You can press flowers with cardboard, newspaper, tissue paper and some heavy books or boxes if you don’t have a proper flower press to hand.  Simply place your chosen, fresh flower between the sheets of cardboard/newspaper/tissue paper and place it underneath heavy books/boxes for at least one week; remove all the leaves before doing so.  The color will not be as vibrant as a fresh flower but it will preserve the flower (and memories) for years to come.  Some flowers are easier to press than others (roses being one of the more difficult ones to press).

You might not be able to preserve the scent of the occasion (although certain aromas may remind you of a certain person or time) but you can preserve the color and shape of the flowers.  And that may go some way to healing in itself and keeping lasting memories.

Next week, I will be writing another aromatherapy book review.  See you then!

~This post was written in memory of Helen Falsetto 1928 – 2011~

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