Preserving North Shore Wildflowers

By Odyssey Resorts
Try these pressing and drying techniques and preserve a memento from your North Shore vacation.

The Minnesota DNR lists nearly 100 different wildflowers that bloom on the north shore between May and September. 

You’ll find these wildflowers on nearly every north shore trail and wayside rest. But be careful where you pick – wildflowers from our state parks or scenic natural areas are off-limits.

While it’s always fun to explore the trails and find them in the wild, the Devil’s Track Wildflower Sanctuary in Grand Marais conveniently has a wide variety in one spot.

You can also add north shore wildflowers to your garden at home. Prairie Restorations has a vast selection of native wildflower seeds available for sale through their website.

Pressing Wildflowers

Pressed wildflowers are excellent for crafting. You can frame them, decorate candles with them, and even make jewelry.

There are a variety of ways to preserve wildflowers by pressing them. The simplest only requires some paper and heavy books. And some patience. Pressing flowers can take 2-3 weeks. But there are shortcuts – read on.

The second most straightforward way to press flowers is with a flower press. Although this process still takes multiple weeks, the flower press takes up less space and can be stored in any orientation.

A flower press is constructed from two pieces of wood, a set of four bolts, and matching wingnuts.

If you’re handy, they’re simple to build, but they can be found online from various vendors for a reasonable price.

The fastest and the riskiest ways to press flowers use a microwave or iron to rapidly dehydrate the flowers. Be cautious – both of these methods can quickly burn or discolor your flowers. And once they’re cooked, there’s no going back.  

Here’s an 8-minute video that demonstrates each of these common methods.

Drying Wildflowers

Sometimes you’ll want to both preserve your flowers and maintain their shape and color. When that’s the case – drying is the way to go.

Drying your flowers is a very straightforward process that only requires a bit of string and a dry airy place to hang them. Just bind the bunch and hang them up. In a few weeks, you’ll have a lovely dry bouquet.

That’s great for most flowers, but if the wildflowers you picked are especially delicate – take a look at the US Forest Service’s guide to drying delicate flowers for tips.

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