Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)is another wild flower that can be found along the coastal roads and in fields and meadows. Native to North America, multi-petal pearl shaped flowers clustered atop a wooly silver green stem is known.as Western Pearly Everlasting. The Native Americans extensively used Pearly Everlasting for medicinal purposes, and it has a history of popularity as a decorative dried flower.
The first time I picked Pearly Everlasting I selected the stems with a yellow center. Whoops! When hung upside down to dry, the flower continued to open and the beautiful yellow center soon dispersed into a puff of fluff scattering near invisible seeds. Lesson learned, select the flowers while tightly closed. Bundles of Pearly Everlasting must be hung upside down because of the weak stems and dense flowers, which when left upright will flop to the side. Bunches should be bound with a rubber band just above the base of the stems to allow adequate ventilation while drying. When the flowers are completely dry and ready to use, know that the weak stem will reabsorb moisture causing the head to dangle rather than remain upright. There are two ways to prevent this problem when designing. Use a short pick to bundle several stems of Pearly Everlasting for use in a compact design where the flowers are tightly massed and will support each other, or cut the stems very short (2”-4”) and clutch wire three or more together, finishing the stem with floral tape.
When arranging dried flowers it is often most effective to group them in clusters of a single variety. It is more dramatic than using single stems in a polka dot affect, and focuses attention on the individual varieties, rather than a mass of undistinguishable color and texture.