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Thistle is best known for their prickly leaves that surround their blooms and their beautiful blooms that range in color form dark pink through vibrant lavender. There are many varieties of thistles including globe,milk and Scots thistle. They are a hardy wildflower in the daisy family that retains their color and shape well when dried properly. Gathering the flowers in mid-summer just before they are in full bloom and drying them makes it possible for you to enjoy them all year round.
Set three or four wide-mouth canning jars in a dry place with good circulation. The attic, shed or garage are good drying spots.
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Place the thistles in the canning jars right-side up as you would if arranging them. The sturdy stems and light flower heads makes drying thistle right-side up the best air-drying method. Do not overcrowd the flowers in the jars.
Leave the blooms undisturbed for three weeks to allow them to air dry. You will be able to tell when they have dried by taking one stem out of one of the jars and seeing if the stem breaks evenly.
Thistle's delicate, long, needle-like bracts do not dry well with microwave or desiccant drying methods. The stems will be brittle and snap easily when dried. You can use florist wire to support the blooms. A light spray of hairspray, clear craft spray or clear lacquer will strengthen dried thistle blooms.