I was watching Chef's Table over the weekend, which you would know I'm a little obsessed with if you follow me on Instagram. The episode featured Virgilio Martínez Véliz from Central, a restaurant in Peru that explores "the Peruvian territory focusing on ecosystems, and elevations". Each dish represents a different altitude in his native land which means Virgilio and his team are often thoroughly scrutinizing the highest and most barren altitudes for ingredients to cook with. I was deeply inspired by the role of his sister in the restaurant. Her scientific background allows her to research and document the discovery of new species in the Andes and other terrains in Peru. All the dried flowers in her lab got me thinking back to the days when I pressed flowers.
A little over three years ago, I attempted to do a 365 day project on Instagram where I shared a new pressed botanical everyday. I named it The Flower Press Project. It was an absolutely wonderful experience for me as I woke up each morning to research the plants I had gathered and pressed new ones. Many of the rare species that I featured, were thanks to the pickings of my mom and dad who hike out of the city once a month. I had about 5 books that I scrutinized every morning to identify the species. I was often pointed in the right direction by my dad who has a wealth of knowledge on plants. Thanks Dad!!
My favourite thing was learning about the medicinal value of a plant, while I don't think my Instagram posts are anything of value for scientific purposes, the general population could learn a lot from the information I shared. I also loved learning about the Victorian language of flowers and most often used Vanessa Diffenbaugh's book as reference. If you're keen to get a copy of the book, you can grab one here.
If you're inspired and want to start pressing your own blooms, I suggest getting a larger flower press like this one as it will allow you to press big flowers and flowers with their stems attached. Without further ado, here are some of my favourite pressings from the project...