It's not necessary to say farewell to all your garden flowers at season's end. There are at least five ways to preserve their beauty to brighten up the dull days of winter.
Many blossoms, such as strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum), most daisies, celosia, baby's-breath (Gypsophila elegans), statice (Limonium sinuatum), and the annual ornamental grasses, can be air-dried in a number of ways. Whatever the species, first remove all the leaves, then find a room or area that is reasonably dark but has plenty of ventilation.
Flowers with stiff stems, such as bells-of-Ireland (Moluccella laevis), can simply be placed in a glass jar or vase until they are dry. Those that perch on floppy stems can be hung upside down in loose bundles from individual nails or hooks, or a number of bunches can be attached to wire clothes hangers. Or you can staple a big square of chicken wire to a wooden frame, and suspend the flowers with the stems hanging through the holes.
Often when a vase of flowers is forgotten for weeks, the owner will suddenly find the water has long gone but the flowers have dried naturally. This method works especially well for drying leaves.
Another good method for drying flowers employs the fine white sand that is sold at building and home centers and used for filling children's sandboxes. First find a strong plastic or wooden box that can withstand the weight of the sand, then spread an inch-deep layer of sand on the bottom. Carefully place the flowers on that base and slowly sprinkle dry sand over and about the flowers until they are completely covered. Do not cover the container. Check after three weeks have passed to see if the flowers are dry.
Verbena is a great annual to cut and dry. Click here to learn how to grow it successfully.