I don’t think that I’m particularly good at waiting. I often burn my mouth on something hot right out of the oven, not wanting to wait until it cools down. I quickly grew tired of being pregnant, not only because it was uncomfortable, but because I wanted to meet those little babies right now! February feels like a season of waiting. Waiting for it to warm up, waiting for seeds to germinate, waiting for the sun to return, waiting for the flowers! I understand in my mind how waiting builds virtue, but my body is anxious to see something sprout, watch a stem grow, and pick a flower again.
Enter my late winter savior, the Strawflower. This bloom dries perfectly and keeps its vibrant color even on the darkest winter days. I’ve been feeling anxious about this season, and in an effort to calm my racing mind, I went out to my studio and started arranging with strawflowers. Their crinkly sounds and bright faces were so reassuring, I immediately felt calmer.
For years I had a hard time growing these little guys. I only recently learned why! Strawflowers seeds must be fresh in order to have good germination. I am a seed hoarder and keep seeds for a few years, thinking "it's probably still good." Well, Strawflower seeds don’t like to be stored and their germination goes down to virtually nothing if the seed is not fresh. If you have fresh seeds these beauties are cold-hardy and will produce a ton of paper-y perfect stems.
We start them in late February and plant them out in mid to late April as they can handle cool temps. They start to bloom late June and we can get two beautiful cuttings from them. When they come on strong in late July we cut and hang them upside down to dry, out of the light, in a well-ventilated area. These dried bundles give us flowers through the winter. I really love putting them in our holiday wreaths and keeping some for a little pop of color on Valentine's day.
If you're planning your garden during these cold February days, consider adding some Strawflower seeds to your basket. Their happy colors won't disappoint and they bring the color when you need it most.