As the days lengthen and the temperatures rise, many of us are itching to get out in the garden and to get our hands dirty. Now is the time to think about what you want to plant his year. If you enjoy growing flowers from seeds, there are a number of interesting new choices this year that could enliven your patio and garden.
If you haven’t grown garden flowers from seed before, there are number of reasons to consider giving it a try, including the satisfaction that comes from cultivating your own plants, the pleasure derived from watching a plant progress from its first tentative thrust through the soil to magnificent maturity, and, not least, in these days of tight budgets, the cost savings.
In this article, I discuss three garden flowers available by seed for the first time in 2009 at Thompson & Morgan (www.tmseeds.com). All of these plants are suitable for container gardening as well as for borders in the garden. Since they are new this year, I haven’t had a chance to try them myself.
1. Jelly Beans (also known as eschscholzia californica). Just the name Jelly Beans is enough to make these worth trying, but they have much more going for them than that. These annuals are easy for gardeners to start (just “throw and sow” according to the seed company), easy to care for, and their blooms are a gorgeous explosions of colors, including shades of yellow, orange, tangerine, lavender, and cream-like a festive party dress.
2. Nasturtium majus Cobra. This dramatic annual has deep red blooms set against dark foliage that will spice up any garden. It can be grown in baskets and containers and is a good border plant. Also, it is easy to germinate and to care for and, therefore, is a fun first flower for children to grow. Its blooming season is long, from summer to fall. This nasturtium is available exclusively at Thompson & Morgan.
3. Agastache aurantiaca or fragrant mixed. Agastache fragrant mixed is a perennial suitable for growing zones seven to 10. Despite that limitation, its advantages are numerous. It will flower in the first year, its highly perfumed blooms are dramatic spikes of color in shades of orange, purple, and cream, and it is quick and easy to start from seed and to care for.
If you are going to grow your seeds in containers, be sure to use containers or pots large enough to allow the roots plenty of room to spread and to sustain the mature plant. Choose a lightweight growth medium for your container garden, perhaps good quality potting mixture from your local gardening store or compost from your garden, if available. The container must have good drainage and, since water tends to drain through potting soil relatively quickly, you may need to water frequently. Finally, be creative in your choice of containers. Pick materials, styles, and shapes to complement your plants.
John W. Jett, WVU Extension Service Specialist – Horticulture, www.wvu.edu, Container Gardening
www.tmseeds.com, New This Year