Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jar Full of Summer

One of my favorite plants from this year's garden was Gomphrena 'Buddy Purple'. From the day I planted a flat of these annuals at the leading edge of our driveway border, they started churning out flower after everlasting purple flower.



The flowers have a dry texture to them, similar to Helichrysum bracteatum (Strawflower), making them very resistant to heat, drought and cold. Even during the broiling, rainless heat we experienced this summer, 'Buddy Purple' did nothing but produce.


When temperatures dipped to 26F on Wednesday night, the foliage of the plants was damaged beyond recovery, but the flowers were simply dusted with a frosty coat. It was time to harvest.


Today, I removed the flower heads from the plants. As I was harvesting them, a neighbor walked by and asked if I was saving seeds. It was the logical question, but I wasn't pulling the flowers off to save the seeds. I was saving the flower heads themselves, as they retain their color when dried and make wonderful home accents. I'll dry them indoors on a cookie sheet for a few days, to make sure any foliage or stems desiccate before storing them in a jar. If they're not completely dry, mold could develop and ruin all the flower heads.


By next weekend, the Gomphrena flower heads will be placed in a glass jar and used as a bit of home decor, likely on the bookcases that hold my gardening library. As I work at my desk during the dormant months, I'll be able to glance over and smile at my jar full of summer.

3 comments:

  1. Great idea! I've always wanted to grow red Gomphrena, but have never been able to find seed for just the red. If I can find some for next summer, I think I'll try your idea!

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  2. Good thinking...I should go out and cut down my gomphrena and dry the heads or hang the whole thing upside down. I have the light purplish variety. I've always wanted to grow the red ones, but can never find them. I would say the supply of gomphrena is spotty at the garden centers around here; I bought mine at a farmer's market and I have only one in a pot. A whole bed sounds lovely!

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