Our garden’s been doing pretty well this summer, and I do so love the ‘lupinarium’. We grew several in a patch last year, which have all come back, and we put in more seedlings that were overwintered as well.
I love how this one’s colours change from peachy to pinky as they grow.
And here’s a steadfast little soldier after some very windy days.
I love my lupins, and so do the bees!
I wanted to cut them for a vase, but you had to cut quite far down to get a good length of stalk, which meant cutting off lots of the newer buds as well, so I left them.
Occasionally we do deadheading, and I’d read that lupin petals dry nicely, so I decided to save the ones which had gone to seed at the bottom, but still had nice petals left on top.
This set of tips on drying flowers was pretty interesting, and I decided to go for the “lay flat and leave aside under a towel” method, which seemed the simplest really.
It’s amazing how quickly they start drying. I left them on a sunny windowsill for a couple of hours, just to get a bit more moisture out,
and when I came back to them they were pretty shrivelled up already. So maybe next time I’ll skip that step.
I laid them all out on one half of a towel. The parts of lupin flowers include two petals above (banner), two petals below (wings), and a ‘hornlike’ piece in the middle (keel) – inside the keel are the pollen and nectar bits. I started trying to pull out the keel, but that made the wings and banner separate, and also it was pretty fiddly to do…So for some of them I separated the wings and banner, and some I left whole, keeping the lovely two toned colours that are characteristic of the Russell hybrids that are so popular in the UK.
Who knew there were so many other types of lupins! And it seems obvious now, but I never realised that they’re part of the pea/bean/legume family. Microscopy-UK describes the parts and development of lupins in more detail, with beautiful photos.
So, when I finished the first layer I put a couple of sheets of newspaper on top and laid out a second layer, put one more sheet of newspaper on top of that, and then folded the other half of the towel over it. I left it on the floor of our ‘airing cupboard’ (where the boiler is), using a baking tray underneath to help with carrying.
I checked on them every so often (slightly paranoid they were going to be rotted or mouldy), and then three weeks later got them out.
Apparently darker coloured petals are best for drying, and they did turn out beautifully.
I had great plans of filling up a kilner jar, but in the end I had enough to fill a tiny little jam jar.
Not sure what I’m going to do with them, but they look pretty.