Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Grow Your Own, and Dry 'em

I greatly prefer natural dried flowers, leaves, seed pods, grasses, pine cones, etc., to any of the artificial ones, even silk. Last fall, I hosted Thanksgiving and had lovely arrangements of dried flowers at the table, on the mantle and around the house. Some I dried myself- marigolds keep their deep color when they dry, and I also dried river oats (this is an invasive plant, so be careful if you plant it) and other grasses, roadside rye and buckwheat, and grape vines. A kind friend gave me some lotus seed pods. I also found some discarded plants that had lovely seed heads for drying and collected those as well (yes, I took them from a trash pile). But I had to purchase some dried flowers to round out the arrangements, so, this spring, I decided to try my hand at growing my own.

First off, I grew gomphrena or globe amaranth (top photo)- it was an easy seed to start and transplant. If we hadn't had such a hot a dry season, I expect it would have taken off, but I got sufficient quantities to use for dried arrangements from a few plants. I also grew out the seeds from the trash-picked plant (if you know the name, fill me in!) which grew like gangbusters (second photo).
Next season I will expand my drying flowers group and will report back!
Happy Gardening!

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