Shakespeare’s famous line is so true. A rose by any other name would still be a rose. Yet, somehow some names are really descriptive. For instance, my favorite flower of this season has to be the strawflowers. If you’ve never seen them, they may conjure up strange images, since most of us associate straw with something you feed animals.
However I don’t think you’d ever feed a strawflower to an animal, they are just too pretty. Just like their common name implies, though, the flower, even just picked from the plant, feel stiff and straw-like. The really cool thing about these flowers is that they are called everlastings. This means that after you let them dry, they will stay looking like a just picked flower forever, or until they fade from too much sunlight. There are lots of everlastings, but I like strawflowers the best. I think this is because of the vivid colors they come in. Of course there’s the typical white, but this year I’ve got hot pink, orange, yellow, burgundy, pink with a white center, and what I’m calling tiger striped. That one is yellow and a rusty color in little stripes on each petal, quite unusual.
One thing about strawflowers (Rhodanthe chlorocephala), is that they are extremely pricey at garden centers. They are usually sold as individual plants and can cost as much as $5 for one plant. I decided to try my hand at growing them from seed. The first year I didn’t have much luck, but this last year I managed to have about a dozen plants make it through horrible seed starting conditions. I was so excited when I got to put them out. So, I would recommend growing them yourself. For around $3 you can get a packet of seeds and have lots of plants, as you aren’t going to be happy with just one. I can guarantee that.
So, now I have a table full of strawflowers, drying (yes even an everlasting has a drying period) and then I need to figure out what to do with them all. I’ll show you some of what I create, once I’ve figure it out.