Yeah, yeah . . . don't we WISH these were real silver dollars? Even though they're not -- they're still one of my favorite flowers! They meet all of my requirements for garden flowers:
1) They are easy to grow and require no special soil, sun or amount of water
2) They provide beautiful purple blooms in early spring that last for weeks and weeks
3) They provide a beautiful dried 'flower' to use year round
4) They seed themselves year after year
5) They can be used for other crafts
Scatter the seeds across the ground in the fall and just lightly turn the dirt over them. That's it. In the spring, you'll see the plants that look like this -- big, green weeds. Memorize this photo or keep it handy as you'll be tempted to pull them out because they are prolific and they do look like weeds! After they get to be about 3-4" tall, thin them out leaving just the plants you want.
They'll grow to about 3 feet in height and begin producing these clusters of gorgeous, purple flowers! In a few weeks time, the flowers will wilt and you'll see little marquise-shaped seeds where each flower was. By early July, they'll look like this . . .
I stake mine so they maintain a nice, even shape. The pods will begin to go from green to brown and when they're completely brown and dry, you'll notice the 3-layered pods will begin to naturally shed the two outer layers. That's when it's time to cut the stalks and enjoy some mindless, soothing, therapy.
Pull up a chair outside, place a table cloth or drop cloth on the ground and start rubbing the pods, shedding the two outer layers, dropping the seeds onto the cloth and revealing the beautiful, silvery silver dollars.
I always arrange bunches inside the house and give away a LOT of stalks to friends, along with bags of the seeds.
Once you've planted these, they'll naturally drop a TON of seeds onto the ground and just come up on their own the following spring!
These are fun to stamp on -- I used black, Staz-On ink and stamped different images on these. I like to add them to cards and other crafts.
If you're a lazy gardener or a very bad gardener (like me) and you still want something to impress you neighbors and show for your efforts . . . give these a try! And to help you get started, the first five people to ask (U.S. residents only) I'll send you a bag of seeds. Just let me know you'd like some and email me your address -- I'll get them out to you.