I love broomweed. It grows in a natural bouquet-shaped arrangement of hundreds of tiny yellow blossoms, and dries on the stem in October and November. With no further preparation it is then ready to be picked and added to fall bouquets. It looks just like Baby's Breath, but is a lovely brown, almost gold shade when dried. I have spray painted it white and used it in place of Baby's Breath in bouquets, and sometimes at Christmas I spray it gold or silver.
Lydia (main character in The Children Are Tender) likes it too. The following passage is based on a real life event; like Lydia, I once stopped on my way to school to pick a wildflower bouquet but mine included goldenrod, which turned out to be an unfortunate choice on parent/teacher conference day; sneezing ensued. Lydia is wiser and leaves goldenrod out of her bouquet:
I waded through the overgrown ditch and quickly picked a bouquet, bunching two varieties of sunflowers and feathery Indian head grass in my left hand as I pulled some dainty broomweed from the ground with my right.
I picked the bouquet shown in the photos below in the late afternoon and liked the shadow it cast as I walked home.
It looks right at home in the milk can I found in the shed behind the house. I painted the can country blue last summer, then autumn green for fall...kind of disrespectful treatment for an antique. But I like it!