Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Celosias and other award winners are great choices for cutting gardens. Here are some suggestions for 2010.
The Celosia Fresh Look series is one of the wispy or wheat-like celosias. It was named one of the Plants of Merit at the Missouri Botanical Garden trials, which takes place at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening.
The blossoms of Celosia Fresh Look appear from summer into fall. The stems are almost 1½ feet tall, making them ideal for cut flowers. In the cutting garden the plants will tolerate heat and humidity.
Celosia Fresh Look Red was a favorite at the Oklahoma State University trial gardens in Oklahoma City. This was also a 2004 All-America Selections winner.
Celosia spicata Flamingo Feather was chosen as a favorite at the University of Illinois trial gardens. The trials took place in the Miles C. Hartley Selections Garden at the University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana.
The celosias are used as a medium mass flower. They have a vase life of about a week or so. These can also be used as an everlasting. In the cutting garden, these need full sun and a rich, fertile, well drained soil. The celosias are easy to grow from seed, which should be started early indoors.
Blazing star White Sprite
This blazing star was chosen as a Great Plants selection. This award is given to plants that are suitable for the Great Plains. This program is a collaboration between the Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. White Sprite is a perennial, and is recommended for zones five through nine.
White Sprite is around 1½ feet in height. This variety is named for the pure ivory blooms. These small blossoms appear on stately spikes. This blooms during the late summer.
In the cutting garden, the blazing stars need full sun. The stems are used as a fresh cut flower. The top buds tend to open first. These have a vase life of about seven to ten days. Also called gay-feather due to the wispy blooms, these are used as a line flower. They have a medium texture.