Planning an Everlasting Garden

Planning an Everlasting Garden
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There are many ways to plan your garden. One nice option is to plant flowerbeds with themes and particular uses. An Everlasting Garden of flowers and plants that can be cut and dried for crafts and dried arrangements is not only beautiful but gives you materials for home decor and gift making. The following plants are easiest and can be direct seeded in your garden area.
Amaranthus caudatus- Love-lies-Bleeding: Pick young red spikes with good color, on long stems. The older the blooms the more they will fade. Hang 3-4 stems to dry at a time. Amaranthus needs full sun, and can tolerate a dry soil, which is one reason it's a valued grain plant in many countries! Direct seed after the last frost.

Amaranthus hypochondriacus: Upright red or green spikes of blooms on leafy stems. Pick stems early to avoid shattering of over mature stalks. Hang to dry in bundles of 5 - 7 stems. Same growing instructions as above.

Ammobium alatum- Winged Everlasting: this pretty white and yellow flower from Australia prefers a well-drained sunny location and soil on the sandy side. They will grow about 36 inches tall and spread a foot. Pick for drying when they are JUST opening. These will bloom again after cutting, and if allowed they will also reseed each year.

Carthamus tinctorius- Safflower: This pretty yellow, white and orange annual grows to about 36 inches tall and can be direct seeded in early spring as soon as the soil can be dug. Thin out to about 6 inches apart. They like well-drained soil and a very sunny location. C. tinctorius is a very old dye plant introduced in the 16th Century. It grows quickly, so plant early and where you want it to stay. The blooms are thistle-like and should be cut the blooms to dry when opened. This can do double duty as an everlasting and a dye source.

Celosias-The crested and plume type celosias work as everlastings if they are dried quickly after blooming. Place in a dry location on screens and use a fan to direct any moisture out of the room through a vent or window. Celosias needs full sun and a rich, composted enriched soil to really grow the best blooms. Don't allow the soil to dry out-water on a regular basis, but don't keep it wet. Pinch out the first bloom to encourage more blooms on each plant. You can direct seed after the last frost or start indoors and transplant.

Consolida ambigua (formally Delphinium ajacis)- also known as Larkspur, prefers a light, well drained soil in full sun. It can be direct seeded in the spring, but it's important to really prepare the soil by raking out rocks/stones and get the soil as fine as you can before seeding. They grow 36-48 inches tall and the blooms are in white, purples, blue or pinks. The plants have tall, taping spikes that should be gathered into bunches and hung upside down to dry in an airy dark location. Harvest the flowers to dry when they are about half open on the stem. A note: ALL parts, especially the seeds, are toxic, so use care.

Gomphrena globosa- Globe Amaranth: Lovely globed flowers that dry VERY easily! Several varieties available and colors. All can be direct seeded in the spring. Plant plenty because the germination rate isn't usually very high. Harvest the blooms just before they completely open and dry on screens or in baskets. I thought the darker colored varieties were nice and held the color better.

Helichrysum roseum bracteatum- Strawflowers: Direct seed about 2 weeks after the last frost when soil is warmed. Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny location. It will tolerate dry soil and conditions. When the plant has partially opened-when only a few "rings" of petals are opened on each bloom. Harvest every 2-3 days and hang to dry in a dry, airy location. You'll find blooms that are White, Red, Deep Burgundy, Orange/Bronze plus shades of Yellow and Pink. The stems are weak, so for arrangements, wires are inserted in the stems. I use them on wreaths and straw hats, so I just glue on the blooms themselves.

Acrolinium (Helipterum roseum)- Pink and white flowers with papery blooms similar to strawflowers. Very delicate. Direct seed in wide rows for best and easiest harvesting. Pick when they are in bud-- NOT open at all-as they dry they will open. Hang to dry.

Limonium sinuatum- Annual Statice: Statice in a favorite everlasting from the Mediterranean. Give it a hot, sunny location with soil on the dry side. It should be direct seeded in the spring where it will be grown-it doesn't like transplanting. Harvest every 2 - 3 days when flower stalks are fully opened for the best color. They should be opened all the way to the end of the stem, before picking. Stems that are ready to harvest will snap off easily, immature stems will bend. Statice is very sensitive to frost, so harvest all before.

Scabiosa stellata- known also as Starflower or Drumstick has round blooms that shed their petals and turn into bronze papery seedheads that can be collected and used in arrangements. Scabiosa prolifera is known as Carmel Daisy and the seed heads are funnel shaped and very unique also. Harvest all of the scabiosas throughout the season to keep them blooming. Cut the seedpods after the petals have dropped from the blooms and hang them to dry. Plant them in full sun and a well drained average soil.

CLICK HERE for Part I of an Everlasting Garden Plan


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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