Tiny spiked blooms smother 18-inch-tall Salvia farinacea all summer long. Pair it with the variety White Porcelain.
A prickly bedfellow for other perennials, globe thistle (Echinops Ritro) is actually more colorful prior to blooming. For drying, cut flowers before the spiny, blue bracts open to reveal a brown hue inside.
Cockscomb (or crested) celosias come in many bright colors. Because of high moisture content, dry blooms in a hot, ventilated area to prevent mold growth.
Plumed celosias come in yellow, cream, orange, red, and pink. These annual blooms last all season; pick just before frost.
Amaranthus -- Tassels of red or maroon blooms dangle from amaranthus, giving this 3- to 5-foot-tall annual its nickname, love-lies-bleeding. Pick blooms just before frost. Quick to dry, they hold their color well.
Artemisia annua -- Foliage, not flowers, makes this 5-foot-tall annual (Sweet Annie) popular for drying. Use supple side branches as a silvery foil in wreaths. Crush brittle main stems and use as a fragrant potpourri.
Safflower -- Here's a cute curiosity that sports a tuft of orange "hair" on top. Pick stems of annual safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) as soon as the flower hair fluffs out. After drying, blooms will redden and shrink.
Bells of Ireland -- Named for the green, bell-shape calyxes on its 2- to 3-foot tall stems, this annual adds a tone of its own to bouquets. A lemony-mint aroma remains after drying. Dried bells crumble easily.
Munstead Lavender -- The most fragrant of all lavenders, this dwarf English variety grows 12 to 18 inches tall. A variably hardy perennial, this plant bears deep-purple blooms all summer long.
Continued on page 3: Easy-Does-It Directions