Many plants look very different once the growing season is over.
Have you ever seen blacked-eyed Susans without their petals? Before the seeds disperse, the seed heads look like fuzzy brown gumdrops stuck on the ends of sticks!
You can gather these and a number of other plants in the fall to be used in dried arrangements and other craft projects. Poppies and teasels both have interesting seed heads. Milkweed pods are very distinctive, too.
Tall grasses are especially beautiful. Many have interesting flower heads. You’ll find plume-like flower heads on reedgrasses growing in marshes and along streams. You’ll find arching spikelets (the proper term for the flowerheads of grasses) on some of the grama grasses found in dry regions. What do you think the grass growing on your lawn would look like if you didn’t mow it? Let a patch go and find out.
Gather up an armload of grasses and wildflowers and put them in a vase. (Don’t put any water in it). As the plants dry, they’ll arch gracefully, turning soft shades of yellow and brown. Other than a light dusting now and then, your dried arrangements need no care, and will last all winter long.
[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user Laura L. Wentz]