I started some ‘Silvery Rose’ strawflowers (Xerochrysum bracteatum) from seed this past spring, after hearing about them for years, and seeing how great they looked as a cut flower in a vase. They germinated easily enough and transplanted well into both a raised bed that has lovely soil and a few regular garden beds, with heavy clay soil, slightly amended with compost and manure, and mulched. The plants in the raised bed grew fastest, which isn’t surprising, and, with regular watering, also grew the tallest and flowered first. I was surprised how tall the plants grow – about a metre in the garden and more than that in the raised bed. I was also surprised by the plant shape: they’re very columnar, so although they may be a metre high, each plant is only about 20 cm in diameter. And this variety – Silvery Rose – has a nice pink tinge to the petals on most flowers, but some are all white. They do dry nicely and if I’m lucky the ones I’ve got hanging in a dark closet will hold up to go into a few mid-winter vases. Next year I’ll plant a other colours as well – I’ve seen some bright red and orange ones that look great.