PLANT NOW FOR FALL CREATIONS
BY HOPE ROBB
(Our guest in the
At this time of
year we have enjoyed the red buds, lilacs, tulips, and daffodils. Now
other plants are in bloom and we are enjoying the color of the perennials
and annuals we are planting. We certainly aren’t getting excited about
autumn just yet. However, if you are interested in making dried
arrangements or wreaths in the fall, you will need to put in your plants
and seeds now.
Because of the
recent availability of excellent quality artificial flowers and greenery
at a reasonable price, the use of dried flowers has declined in recent
years. However, for those still interested in growing and drying their
own, the following are some plants and seeds I like to plant for later
Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth)-A
delightful small, round headed flower that comes in several colors
Blue Salvia-We can’t get
along in designing without the deep blue linear blooms of this annual. One
of my favorite large pottery vases that I use for fall arrangements has
swirls of dark blue. The Blue Salvia looks great tucked into this
large, velvety heads dry beautifully. I especially like the deep, violet
colors. These big heads can be used as a focal point at the base of your
Statice (Limonium)-This plant
comes in many bright colors and is almost dry when cut.
Straw Flower (Helichrysum)-These
also come in many colors. You will need to use wire to support the stems.
Cut these flower just before fully open; they will continue to open once
Delphinium-These come in pretty blues and pinks. These linear materials
add a softer touch to the arrangement.
Chinese Lantern-Dries to a
brilliant orange lantern. It looks beautiful in fall arrangements.
Gourds (Varieties vary)-Many
of the ornamental gourds can be used in swags, wreaths, or tucked down in
arrangements. They provide interesting textures and colors.
Seed Pods-There are many
types of seedpods to use in arrangements. Among these are Poppy seed
heads, Love-in-A-Mist seed pods, and Lotus pods.
10. Because an arrangement with dried material tends to look stiff
to incorporate other materials into the design such as the
Grasses-I like Miscanthus
“Morning Light” and Eragrostis trichodes “Sand Love Grass”. These
give the arrangements an airy feeling.
Tuck them in.
Also interesting are berried
plants such as Rose Hips or a small Allium.
At the back to give it height
use Ornamental Millet (which is my favorite), Curly Willow, or Red Twig or
Yellow Twig Dogwood.
These materials can also be
used in wreaths or swags.
You will need
to plant the seeds according to directions and germination time. Place
seeds in germinating mix in plastic containers, such as recycled blueberry
containers. Seeds will need to be kept warm by placing them on top of a
source of heat, either a heating pad or on top of the refrigerator. Once
the seeds have come up, place them under lights until they get their first
two true leaves. After this, transplant each seedling into a divided seed
starter tray that contains potting mix. The seedlings need to be watered
from the bottom.
You will need to "harden them
off" by taking the tray outside during the daytime and bringing it in
at night, allowing the seedlings to adjust to the outside temperature
whether we have cool evenings or warm evenings with hot sunny days. At
first you may want to place them in partial shade so they don’t get
sunburned. When all danger of frost has passed, the plants should be
hardened off enough to plant outdoors.
the time comes to harvest your plant material, remove all foliage from the
flower stems. Gather material into small bunches; secure stems with rubber
bands. Open a paperclip and insert one end into the rubber band and use
the other end to hang the bunches in a dark, dry place.
Over time my
yard has become shadier, so I rely on Gladys Jeurink, George Edgar, and
Edna Shields for much of my plant material. Such generosity!!
To get more
information about using dried flowers, I suggest “The Book of Dried
Flowers” by Malcolm Hillier and Colin Hilton. Also check the Extension
Division of University of Nebraska-Lincoln website at http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/search.
In the box on the left type in “Dried Flowers” or contact your local
county extension office and ask for “NebGuide G1074”. You can also go
to “http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/annualper.shtml”. In the first
column are two publications on drying flowers.