Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Not all everlastings are traditional flowers. A number of the grasses are outstanding when dried. Here are some recommended special ones for everlastings. Bear in mind that most can also be used as fresh cut flowers.
Black Tip Wheat (Triticum durum)
This dried floral is bicolored. It has frilly, white kernels set within long, bristly-like tips. The plants reach three feet in height. Its stems are ready to cut in about three to four months from the time the seeds are planted. For drying, harvest once the stems begin to turn golden brown.
Silver Tip Wheat (Triticale spp.)
This is actually a hybrid of rye and wheat. Silver tip tends to have much larger seed heads than the Black Tip. The heads can be up to four inches wide. The strong, sturdy plants are similar in size to those of Black Tip wheat. This is ready to harvest in three to four months as well.
As the name indicates, Silver Tip has silver-white seed heads.
Ruby Silk Love Grass (Eragrostis tef)
As an everlasting, Ruby Silk is hard to beat. It retains its rich, ruby-red color very well. The long, flowing seed heads have a wispy appearance. Ruby Silk grows to about two feet in height. It is quicker to bloom, about ten weeks or so from planting time.
Hare’s Tail Grass (Lagurus ovatus)
This is a wonderful everlasting. Originally native to parts of Europe, hare’s tail grass is an annual. It has richly textured, very soft, fluffy seed heads. Initially, these are white to off-white. When dry, these become pale cream. The stems are about 1˝ feet in height. For best results, harvest the stems before they’re fully mature. Otherwise, the seed heads might shatter.
Highlander Foxtail Millet (Setaria italica)
This variety is noted for its spectacular, arching, bronze seed heads. This grass reaches about three feet in height. It begins blooming about three months from planting time.
Quaking Grass (Briza maxima)
This ornamental grass is also called puffed wheat and big quaking grass. Some also refer to it as rattle snake grass. This annual is named for its oddly shaped seed heads that are suspended from the tips of the stems. The heads form long, loose panicles.
When dry, the seed heads are cream to straw colored. The stems are about two feet in height. This is early to mature. The plant begins blooming during late spring and early summer.
Drying Everlasting Grasses
All of these stems will need to be dried in a warm dry room.