One of my nature goals this year is to learn more about our local wildflowers. I want to be able to ID them easily, learn more about their history and uses, and get accustom to their timing in the seasons.
With that in mind I have been on a wildflower hunt this spring, seeking out the spots where I know specific flowers grow to check on their timing, and watch their development from leaf, to bud, to flower, and beyond.
I have also started gathering them to press!
While I dream of someday having one of those large wooden flower presses with a beautiful botanical design etched into the top, I am realizing that it would be largely decorative because I am much more effective simply using large books I picked up for a dollar at the nature center sale. (That fact that they are old bird books give me bonus points, right?)
It is easy to add more flowers to a book without disturbing what I have already added, and what could be more simple than opening a page mid-book and arranging a few flowers between pieces of paper? It might not be the most effective way to “properly” press a flower, but if I find a bulky flower press with four screws to undo, and nuts and bolts to keep track of, disruptive to the process then I might never press any flowers. And, I find that when the kids want to press something, it is very simple to grab one of the big bird books we have designated as press books and let them press away.
This book method also allows for easy access to check on the drying process without the task of unscrewing the whole press.
As I type this I feel like maybe I am just being lazy, but nature study is about learning and having fun with nature, and if I find something is even somewhat irritating (and I have another way to go about accomplishing it) why not choose an easier alternative, keeping it fun, and progress toward a goal?
This is nothing new; I know people have been pressing plants in books for many moons, but sometimes we need reminders to keep it simple and not feel like we need special tools and gadgets to accomplish a goal.
Have you been pressing any flowers this spring?
Do you love your flower press to pieces or are you a book person like me?