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Mike's Blog - Day 294

I grew a few of these last year as I’d often grown them as a lad.

These “strawflowers” (Helichrysum sp.) can be cut and dried, as long as you hang them upside down so they keep straight as they stiffen up and dry.

These never made it out of their pots last year, but I think they would have given us a good display in late summer tubs, so I’ll get a few more packets of seed for 2021.

A quick look on the web and you can get 450 seeds for 99p, not bad value! This is a great time of year to browse the seed catalogues and get some seed ordered. I have ordered these for the coming season:

Argemone mexicana – a spiky little thing for the cactus house.
Myosotidium hortensia – the giant Chatham Island Forget–me-not, likes a mulch of sea weed.
Pea, 'Blauwschokker' – red podded pea which looked good for a tub in the childrens' garden.
Mimosa pudica – the sensitive plant, great to show the school kids, I got 2 packets so we might have some to sell in the Friends sale.
Ceratotheca triloba  - South African foxglove, looks nice, never tried it before.
Luffa cylindrical – just for a bit of interest.
Glycyrrhiza glabra – liquorice, do you remember you used to be able to buy roots of this in the chemist.
Adansonia digitate – baobab seems the small one we had died.
Gossypium herbaceum – cotton, easy to grow in the greenhouse but red spider mite can be an issue.
Ricinus communis 'Carmencita' for bedding 2021, although I have saved the seeds of this for years, so there might be spare plants.

Must order sweet peas next as it’s good to sow them early.

Some growers cut these dried flowers of the strawflower and literally stick them onto cactus plants to trick people into buying them thinking they are in flower. It’s no doubt the same idea as some dealers spraying painting heather blue, red or gold, or dying moth orchids blue so people buy them because it’s different.