Gardens - Specialty Gardens

Garden-grown everlastings

Laura Langston
Photography by
Roger Yip

Add blooms to your garden that can be preserved and create year-round beauty in your home

Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina and A. millefolium)


Perennial, Zone 2   
Description: Large, flat flower clusters in every colour except blue bloom all summer atop fern-like foliage; 60 cm to 1.8 m x 60 cm to 1.2 m
Cultivation: Full to part sun; tolerates most soils; water during drought for continuous bloom; stake tall varieties. Divide plants every three years to maintain vigor. Starter plants are more reliable than seed
Harvest: When blooms just open and flowers are firm; stems strengthen as they dry. Golden blooms retain colour, pastels may darken. Photo by Calibas

Winged everlasting (Ammobium alatum)

Description: Small, pure white, straw-textured flowers with yellow centres; 30 cm to 1.2 m x 30 to 60 cm
Cultivation: Full sun; rich, sandy loam. Start indoors in mid-March; needs heat to germinate. Dislikes cool, wet weather
Harvest: Before flowers reach full bloom—they will open as they dry

Wormwood (Artemisia spp.)

everlasting-wormwood.jpgShrubby perennial, Zone 2
Description: Small, yellow flowers on feathery, grey-green foliage; 30 cm to 1.2 m x 30 to 90 cm
Cultivation: Full sun; average to poor soil. Established plants are drought tolerant; cut back in late fall or early spring
Harvest: When plants are bushy and in full bloom (right up until first light frosts)

Sweet Annie (A. annua)

Description: Strongly scented, lacy, almost frilly foliage; tiny, yellow flowers; 1.2 to 1.8 m x 90 cm to 1.5 m
Cultivation: Full sun; average to poor soil. Seed indoors in early March (can be slow to germinate) or direct-sow a few weeks before last frost date
Harvest: See wormwood, above

Celosia (Celosia argentea, Cristata, Plumosa and Spicata Groups)

Description: Brilliant burgundy-, red-, orange- or pink-crested flowers shaped like coral, rooster’s combs, spikes or plumes; 30 cm to 1.2 m x 60 to 90 cm
Cultivation: Full sun; well-drained soil. Seed indoors early- to mid-March, or direct-sow after soil is warm (at least 18°C). Very tender
Harvest: When flowers are fully formed

Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)

Description: Large, clover-like blooms in cream, pink, red or deep wine; 15 cm (dwarf); 60 to 90 cm (standard) x 30 to 90 cm
Cultivation: Full sun; rich, well-drained soil. Seed indoors early to mid-March; allow two weeks for germination. Plant outdoors when daytime temperatures are consistently 21°C or higher. Drought tolerant
Harvest: When flowers are fully formed and colour is intense; blooms get larger as season progresses

Statice (Limonium sinuatum)

Description: White, pink, yellow, purple or pastel shades of rose, peach or salmon. Blooms on stiff, deeply ribbed stems; 30 cm (dwarf); 75 cm (tall) x 30 cm
Cultivation: Full sun; sandy loam. Seed indoors early
to mid-March (may take two weeks to germinate). Blooms mid- to late summer
Harvest: To keep plant producing, pick individual stems when three-quarters of the flowers are open

Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)

Description: Violet, blue, pink or white flowers; delicate, misty foliage; balloon-shaped seed pods; 30 to 40 cm x 7 to 15 cm
Cultivation: Full to part sun; average soil with good drainage. Direct-sow in early spring or in fall for germination the following spring. Flowers midsummer to frost
Harvest: To encourage bloom, deadhead spent flowers but leave on when ready to harvest pods; cut pods when firm yet closed. Photo by Kaldari

Immortelle (Xeranthemum annuum)

Description: Double, daisy-shaped, papery, white, pink or lilac blooms, mostly yellow centres; strong stems with silver-green foliage; up to 60 cm x 30 to 40 cm
Cultivation: Full sun. Seed indoors early to mid-March (direct-sown seed can be slow to germinate). Drought tolerant; needs support in windy sites
Harvest: Pick flowers regularly for continuous production

Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum syn. Helichrysum bracteatum)

Description: Small, stiff, mum-shaped flowers on weak stems in red, yellow, gold, salmon, bronze, deep maroon, pink and white; 30 to 90 cm x 30 cm
Cultivation: Full sun; rich loam. Seed indoors early to mid-March. Plants are top-heavy and need wind protection
Harvest: In bud or when flower is open but before yellow centre is visible; regular harvesting maintains flower production

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