'Everybody should do this as a hobby': Joanna Gaines's new project preserves nature in its most beautiful form

The designer picked up a new pastime while decorating Hotel 1928, and she can enjoy her results for centuries to come

Joanna Gaines
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The recent months have been anything but quiet for Chip and Joanna Gaines, starting, not least, with the opening of their renovated Hotel 1928. In true Gaines form, the couple shared the decorating process with the world via Fixer Upper, and we'd be lying if we said we hadn't already made it through every single episode. 

However, despite her dedication to Hotel 1928, Joanna also found time to work on a small project at her home – a rose shed – or, as Joanna calls it, their 'herbarium,' completed on the second to last episode of the series. 

Naturally, Joanna intended to use her rose shed to grow (you guessed it) roses – the results of which she posted on her Instagram below. However, she also wanted a separate space for another hobby, flower pressing

‘In my brain, it’s a herbarium…It’s like a record-keeping place for your garden,' Joanna says. In the footage, she refers to a pressed Lantana she received from her son, Crew. 'I’ll have Crew write on it. That’s record keeping. [Keeping record] of all the flowers that Crew gets for me,' she adds.

'Everybody should do this as a hobby because you’re preserving nature in its most beautiful form. You’re storytelling.'

Joanna's rose shed gives her more space to both grow and press plants, both of which are hobbies that are already nothing new to the designer. It's no secret that Joanna has an enviable rose garden at the Silos and a flower-filled cottage garden at her Waco abode.

In late summer, Joanna also practiced a similar flower pressing technique by bottling up her dried helichrysum cuts in vintage-style bottles – ensuring her seasonal blooms impress for years in the future. '[I'm] bottling up summer the best I know how,' Joanna explains in her post. 'Dry or press your garden beauties before you bottle them up.'

So, we're inspired by Joanna's flower pressing, but what do we need to remember before experimenting? The experts at Two Wests & Elliot weigh in on this simple process. 

'You can take lots of time as you select the best blooms from your garden, and that's not a bad thing – but ideally, you want to pop them straight into the water after they have been cut,' they say. 'Carry a small bucket of water around with you and plunge them to help them remain fresh until you return indoors.'

We should also remember to recut the stems when we bring our flowers indoors for pressing. 

'Take each bloom and recut the base of the stem at an angle – cutting at an angle allows the stem to absorb the greatest amount of water. Transfer back into a vase, glass, or bucket of water with some cut flower food and leave them for a few hours, away from direct sunlight, so the blooms are in their best state prior to pressing.

When it comes to the pressing process, we recommend these kits below.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.