Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
There are a number of award winning dried flowers. These are great for cutting gardens. Here are some recommended varieties.
Grosso lavender was named the dried flower of the year for 2006 by the-- Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG). Sometimes called fat spike, Grosso is preferred because of its long, straight stems. As with most of the Lavandula x intermedia varieties, this hybrid will withstand more humidity than comparable English lavenders.
Grosso stems are 2˝ feet tall. If used as a cut flower, these blooms are blue-violet. However, when dried these become a violet-gray. You’ll need to purchase Grosso plants. This is a sterile hybrid that doesn’t set seed. It is hardy in zones five through nine.
Small globe-thistle (Echinops ritro) was named dried flower of the year for 2000 by ASCFG. Native to Europe and Siberia, this perennial blooms from mid-summer through early fall. Though it is used primarily as a dried flower, it can also serve as a fresh cut stem. The bristly, globe shaped blossoms are violet-blue. These open on tall, sturdy stems. The plants can reach two to three feet in height. It is hardy to zone three.
Silver King, a variety of Artemisia (Artemisia ludoviciana var. albula) was named dried flower of the year for 2001 by ASCFG. This is recommended for zones three through nine. It reaches two to four feet in height. If you decide to plant this in the cutting garden, be aware it can spread indefinitely. The yellow blooms open on spikes during the summer. This Artemisia has lovely, finely cut gray-green foliage. As an everlasting this is an excellent choice for dried wreaths.
Among the gomphrenas, one was named dried flower of the year for 1999 by ASCFG. QIS Carmine is an outstanding, unusual variety that would be great for the cutting garden. These reach two to 3˝ feet in height. The tall, uniform stems are very sturdy.
This begins flowering about four months after the seeds are planted. The glowing carmine blossoms are up to two inches across. The stems are ideal as an everlasting. However, they can also be used as a fresh cut flower. These can last for several weeks even if no preventative is used.