When I visit the Franklin County Fair every August, I always look for one particular bouquet of flowers. Someone always enters bright red stunning "Cockscomb Celosia." I just love the fuzziness and texture of the blooms and the undulation and convoluted nature of the flower petals. I used to have a rooster with a "rosecomb" whose "cocks' comb" looked just like this flower. None of the roosters I have now have a rosecomb - otherwise, I would be able to share a photo.
I have tried for many years to grow these flowers so that I can have bouquets of them in my house at the end of the growing season. I have always failed. I think I have planted the wrong variety, or maybe they haven't had enough fertilizer, or need staking, or ..... on and on and on. I never have written down the name of that gardener who is the blue prize winner of those celosia. Maybe one day I will and ask for their secrets. Does anyone out there have good success with these?
This year I tried again. I bought two kinds of plants up at Walker Farm in Dummerston, VT - one a Bombay Mixed color selection and the second something called Cramer's Burgundy. Once again, I was disappointed with the Bombay variety. They failed me. Every year, they send out one big bloom and after I pick it, nothing else happens. But the Cramer's variety did just fine. I wouldn't win any entries in the county fair but I did get quite a few vase loads of flowers out of the six plants I bought.
The first flower was always the largest and after that was picked, the plants sent up a bunch more smaller blossoms. Sadly, they are pretty much over now. In the photo below, you can see how their color has changed and the plants are looking rather tired. I will plant them again next year and see if I can give them a little more space and manure.
They looked great mixed with the end of the summer zinnias.
I'm just crazy over the texture and the crazy folds. I think they remind me of velvet fabric, wool, and gathered ruffles on the shirts I used to make and wear.
Maybe next year, I'll find some other Cramer's colors and give them a go too!