Photo 1: Limonium sinuatum.
Photo 1: Limonium sinuatum.
Limonium sinuatum (statice) has paper-like bracts that later bloom with delicate white flowers. Once Statice starts blooming it continues to bloom until frost. When harvesting, cut the flower stalks back to the rosette leaves at the base of the plant.
Limonium needs no special post harvest care, and doesn't fade as it dries. Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) is perennial to zone 3, which makes it a great choice for our harsh Minnesota winters. It ranges in color from deep red, orange, purples, pinks to clear white; and blooms early summer to frost. Its silver-green lacy foliage is fragrant, and can also be used to enhance your arrangements.
Harvest when all florets are open, place in floral preservative, and store in a cool place. Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Sensation' features fluffy lavender flowers in flattened to slightly rounded clusters on strong upright (18-30") stems. 30" Gomphrena haageana has brightly colored bunny tails that add whimsy to your bouquets (try cherry red Strawberry Fields, bright pink Fireworks or QIS mix), and contrasts nicely with Celosia's bright spikes. (Try Celosia spicata "Flamingo Feather".) Ageratum, Gomphrena and Celosia produce flowers from summer to early fall and are great for cutting and drying. Gomphrena is fairly drought tolerant
Deep-rooted, heat loving and drought tolerant, it's not picky about soils, and thrives in almost any location. Cilantro, a popular herb widely used in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cuisine, features delicate foliage and tiny white flowers. One of my favorites, Artemisia annua (Sweet Annie), has abundant, lacy, fragrant foliage. A tall (36"-48") woody herb, Sweet Annie can be cut and placed in cool water, or dried and used to make fragrant autumn wreaths.
For something completely different, include tall grasses, wheat or ornamental eggplant to highlight your fall displays. Perennial grasses, such as Karl Forester, and annuals like millet can complement the fall colors of rudbeckia and wine zinnias. Dried Black tipped wheat, available as seed from a variety of garden catalogs, can be used in fresh or dried bouquets. My absolute favorite, Solanum integrifolium, also known as Pumpkin on a stick, really adds something special to your fall bouquets. The plants are quite thorny, so be careful when harvesting. Cut near the base of the plant, remove the foliage, and use in fresh bouquets, or dry in a cool, well-ventilated location, and use in your dried arrangements. (If you find you have extras, they are edible, and can be used in traditional Asian Stir Fry recipes.)
The keys to successful floral arrangements are color, texture, and imagination. Don't get stuck on the same old, same old. Try something new and different this year. Bring the pleasure of your garden into every room in your house with long lasting floral arrangements chock full of herbs, greens and colorful flowers.
Earth laughs in flowers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson