Answer: The first flower you describe sounds like Strawflower (Helichrysum). The plants are 1'-4' tall, with flowers of bright white, orange, yellow or red. The stems are stiff and the flower petals are hard, even when the flowers first open.
I'm guessing that the second plant is Lunaria, the Money Plant. This is an old-fashioned garden plant, grown for the translucent silver circles that stay on the flower stalks and are all that remain of ripened seedpods after the outer covers drop.
Seeds of both plants are available from the Burpee Seed Catalog. Order online at http://www.burpee.com, or phone toll-free at (800) 888-1447.
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