How to press Crocus Flowers
The Microfleur Microwave flower press does a great job capturing the delicate beauty of spring crocuses. Here are a few tricks I've learned that may help you..
1. Harvesting Crocus
One of the most endearing characteristics of crocuses is that they tend to grow in clumps. When cutting an individual crocus, try to cut as near to the bottom of the pearly white stem as you can, to avoid damaging neighboring crocus. Also, take great care to avoid snipping the tips of any of the foliage at this point, because you don't want to damage the beautifully striped leaves.
After you have finished harvesting the flowers, go back and snip 2-3 leaves for every flower that you picked. Cut them as close to the ground as you can, however be sure to cut only 1-2 leaves from each individual plant. It is important to not harvest too many leaves, because the bulbs rely on the leaves to provide nourishment for next year's flowers.
Before microwaving the crocuses in the Microfleur, it's a good idea to trim off all of the stamen as well as the piston. As you will see, the stamen are loaded with bright yellow pollen, which tends to stain anything it touches, and it can cause the flower to turn brown in the microwave. However, be sure to save the vivid orange pistils.
3. Using the Microfleur
Once the crocuses have been trimmed, lay them out on the Microfleur pad, making sure that there is ample room between each one.
The key to pressing crocuses successfully is to microwave them in a series of short bursts. I generally start out with three sessions of 20 seconds each at full power, and then I let the pads "rest" and cool down for a few minutes. Finally, I microwave them for two additional 30 second bursts, and they're done. I sometimes remove the leaves and pistils before the last two microwave sessions, as they tend to dry more quickly than the flowers do.
To use your pressed crocus flowers, just carefully glue them down as you would any other flower. I recommend coating them with Perfect Paper Adhesive, which is a tough, flexible crystal clear UV resistant coating. PPA will help maintain the brilliant colors, and will provide an invisible layer of durable protection.
I tend to use most of my pressed crocuses for Easter cards, however I've them used on handmade garden journal covers, and have seen others use them in scrapbooks, and collages...even on a lampshade! However you decide to use them, I know you'll find that pressing them and capturing their lasting beauty will be well worth the effort.