For Jen Marsh, the impetus to press plants began 10 years ago when she found a Boy Scout’s plant-pressing book in a steamer trunk that belonged to her grandmother.
Marsh doesn’t know who the Boy Scout was or why her grandmother had the book, but she appreciates the story it tells. Each faded brown paper page holds a pressed specimen, labeled in a child’s handwriting with the plant’s name and place where it was found.
“Some of them say they are ‘from our yard,’ and some of them are from places he must have visited,” Marsh says. “It tells a story of the place that the plants are associated with.”
On Saturday, April 22, Marsh, a historian and recreation coordinator at Dorris Ranch in Springfield, will lead a plant-pressing class.
Participants in the Willamalane Park & Recreation class will walk through Dorris Ranch and learn to identify native plants as well as invasive species that the park is seeking to eradicate. Marsh will help class participants identify native plants that grow plentifully and are OK to harvest, along with sensitive species they should leave alone.
“We have a lot of Oregon grape, larkspur and false Solomon’s seal,” Marsh says. “But we wouldn’t pull fawn lilies or trillium.”
Gather the materials
The simplest plant pressing starts with fresh plant material. Fragile flowers and leaves that wouldn’t last once picked can be preserved by pressing.
Bulky flowers or cones, such as a Douglas fir cone or a daffodil bloom, can be sliced in half with a sharp X-Acto knife. The simplest presses are pieces of cardboard wrapped tightly…