My daughter was talking about some of her work yesterday. She is doing Geo-Archeology. A fun fact she mentioned in conversation was that often while looking for old homestead sites Archeologist look for domesticated plants and flowers that are out of place. Long ago someone had a flower garden and it survives while the structures often do not. Fun fact. Keep planting!!!!!! Now is the time to start thinking about late spring/ summer blooms. Cosmos, Zinnias, Poppies, Nasturtium, Marigold and other annuals. You can also plant Perennials to give them a good start for next year’s blooms!
Seeds are only viable for a few years, some longer than others. After the peak period most seed germination rate starts to drop. If you have old seed it’s always worth trying to plant them but don’t count on a high germination rate. Here are a few guidelines of various seed life span:
Zinnias: 5-6 years
Nasturtium 5-6 years
Calendula 5-6 years
Hollyhock 4 years
marigold 4 years
sweet pea 4 years
digitalis (foxglove) 2-3 years
Phlox 2-3 years
This is only a sampling. If you have quite a few seeds left from previous years and they have been stored in a dry moderate temperatures you probably can still get 50% out of them. Worth a try!
It’s that time of year when most flowers are starting to fade, the spring blooms are now dry and weedy and for those of us living out here in the west, everything is parched. Resist the temptation of cleaning up the flower beds. Many of the leftover stalks and leaves will decompose over the winter and find their way back into the soil, replenishing the nitrogen and other beneficial nutrients. You might consider planting a cover crop such as red clover. In many zones it will cover the ground and can be turned under during the spring. Clovers are nitrogen fixers so are very beneficial. Some of the local garden centers may also offer “green manure” which can be planted wait what?……
Hot loving flowers! It is not too late to plant those flowers that will not really get started until it gets hot. As long as there is irrigation plant them from now until even early June:
Zinnias, all types. Originally a tropical plant. Beautiful cut flower.
Cosmos: grow well in hot humid climates and make a great cut flower.
Sunflowers: the name says it all.
It’s not too late, go for it!
Cosmos seeds are easy to plant and we have both mixes and individual colors. Native to Mexico they are easy to grow and work both in mass plantings and as filler in flower beds. Bloom time is summer and early fall. Can be used in arrangements if the floors are cut just after they open and placed in water immediately. They re-seed and attract birds. Plant in not too rich soil. Cosmos will grow 3-6 ft tall. For some of you who may have seen “the color purple” movie, the filed of flowers were cosmos. Really beautiful in mass planting! Colors are available both a mix and white, pink, and crimson. Plant as soon as danger of frost is past.
Thought I would post this picture again. Flower seeds for wedding favors. Pictured is the fall planting mix but the spring mix looks the same in terms of volume. Make your own packaging and use your imagination from coin envelopes to cellophane rounds wrapped in tulle, tied with a bow to match your colors. 1lb of seed makes between 150-200 teaspoon depending on how much you want in each favor. That is probably 200-500 seeds. Lots more than is in the store bought packets. The seeds are a mix of annuals and perennials that will grow in virtually any zone. Some annuals will re-seed and the perennials while not blooming the first year after the second year will come back for many more. The perfect way to remember your special day!
Sweet Peas are one of the most best known of garden flowers. They make excellent cut flowers and some have a delightful fragrance. They are all in the Fabaceae family.
Almost all are vines although the shorter (knee high) variety does not grow as tall. You will need to have a trellis or other climbing medium for them to latch onto.
Sweet Pea seeds have a hard coating so can be difficult to germinate. To hasten this it helps to soak them for a few hours before planting. Start in early spring in peat pots, planting 3-4 seeds per pot, then plating the pots apprx 1 ft apart, thinning after seedlings appear choosing the strongest. Plant directly in the soil once the ground has warmed about 1 inch deep and 1-2 in apart. Thin to no less than 6 in apart. Sweet Peas vines need plenty of water. Will tolerate aridity. Once established cut flowers every couple of days to prolong blooms and remove any seed pods. In ideal conditions Sweet Peas will re-seed and naturalize although the birds often get them as well. It helps to treat seed with fungicide as they are susceptible. Full sun. Fertilize to prolong blooms. Typically spring bloomer but some may go into summer.
It’s that time of year when we need to start thinking about what and when to plant seeds. Here is a list of spring blooming annuals with germination times. Most of these seeds need to be in the ground as soon as possible after last freeze:
Alyssum- 2-3 weeks All annual clover 1-3
Baby Blue eyes 1-4 weeks 5 Spot 3-4
Baby’s Breath 1-3 Chinese forget me nots 1-3
Birds Eye 3-4 Globe Gilia 2-3
Bachelor Button 1-3 Annual Lupin 3-4
Bishops Flower 1-4 Phlox 2-3
Clarkia 2-3 All Poppies 2-4
Sweet Peas 2-3
All of these will give you the first “Ah it’s spring” color and are easy to grow. There are many early perennials but of course they seldom bloom the first year. A post for later. Is it spring yet?