Celebrity Garden Designer Greg Fisk Shares His Top Tips for Creating Dried Flower Arrangements and Flower Drying Pro Tips

"The unique advantage of microwave flower drying is that the delicate natural color of the bloom is preserved because the drying time is a fraction of traditional methods.”

February 23, 1991

On this day, the Hartford Courant shared an article written by Anne Farrow called Garden of Everlasting Delights.

This fantastic article features Gregg Fisk of Gregg Fisk Designs and his incredible dried arrangements and flower drying skills.

Gregg’s creations are a cut above the rest, and his celebrity clients include Barbara Streisand and Lady Bird Johnson. A photo of one of his swags highlighted outstanding elements like small flower pots, hydrangea, globe amaranth, and love-in-a-mist.

As for Gregg’s favorite plants to grow for drying, here’s what Gregg suggests:

Some of the basics are globe amaranth, the everlasting signifying immortality; American statice, a ruffle-edged annual that's durable and can be grown in a variety of colors; strawflowers; asters; zinnias; heather' in several different colors; and nigella, a flower with a delicate mauve seed head and a beautiful name: love-in-a-mist. 

The current crop of books on growing flowers for drying also recommends hosta, the ubiquitous shade-garden perennials; poppies, which have a globe-shaped seed case that dries quickly; astilbe, ivy, baby's breath; and the evocatively named money plant, which has a silvery, translucent seed case. 

Another must-have for the home gardener is the rose. [Gregg] recommends planting a climbing rose, sometimes called the faerie rose… [which adds] a finished, old-fashioned appearance to dried arrangements. 

From the herb family, [Gregg] chooses rosemary, which has a dark, blue-green needle and a wonderfully piney perfume; bay, for its fragrance; and Silver King and Silver Queen Artemisia. The artemisias, which are silver-colored, look handsome and puffy in the garden and dried arrangements. 

The bright golden florets of yarrow, a perennial grown in the earliest New World gardens, is another of the herbs he always chooses, as is the low-growing lamb's ear, which has a velvety, gray-green leaf that is soft even when dried. Often shown in herb kits for children because it is so touchable, lamb's ears are beautiful in wreaths with many pink flowers or placed in a bowl of homemade potpourri. 

White lilacs can [hang-dry] easily and turn a pearlescent cream color. 

Hydrangeas, too, can be hang-dried and then dyed in various shades. Asters, a garden classic, dry beautifully in beach sand.

Experimentation teaches you a lot, [and Gregg] has found an ally in… the microwave oven. 

Though the procedure for drying flowers in the "mike" is more complicated than simple hang-drying methods, the results, particularly with… peonies, daffodils, marigolds, and roses, justify the effort required. The unique advantage of microwave flower drying is that the delicate natural color of the bloom is preserved because the drying time is a fraction of traditional methods. 

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