Flowers from Long Ago
For centuries, gardeners have grown brightly hued annuals from seed, since seed is reliable, easy to transport, and relatively inexpensive. These plants provide season-long color and usually a wonderful fragrance. These plants can be used in masses or as fillers in a flower border as well as in containers. Each of the following annuals have been favorites for hundreds of years.
These heirloom cultivars are still available for us to grow and gives a connection with all of the gardeners who planted before us.
Cosmos are perfect for the back of the border and one of the easiest plants to grow.
They need full sun and will actually do better in poorer soil than in rich. There is little need for constant watering, which makes it a great xeriscaping (water conserving) plant. Cosmos attracts beneficial insects and butterflies to the garden.
Joseph’s coat features vibrant ornamental foliage and will reach up to 4 feet in height. It is ideal for edgings, borders, or mass plantings. It does well in full sun and all but soggy soils. It can be short-lived in years with excessive rain and humidity. It prefers not too much fertilizer otherwise the leaves will lose their coloring in really rich soils. The plant will usually need staking to keep them upright.
Four o’clock has fragrant blooms for the border or container. The plants attract hummingbirds by day and moths by night. Plant them in full sun and a well drained soil.
It can tolerate any soil, a high temperature, and pollution.
Petunia is an ideal edging plant. They bloom all the way from spring until frost and are used a lot in landscaping because of this. They are very simple to grow and look great in the garden and containers. Petunias like full sun and a lean, well-drained soil. Avoid planting in wet areas. Deadhead plants for the best display of blooms. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from. The Wave Petunias can cover a large area where you would like a lot of color. They look super in hanging baskets and window boxes. Petunias thrive in full sunlight. The soil does not have to be rich, but it must drain well. Fertilizing with a bloom promoter fertilizer will enhance the blooms even more. Wait until the temperatures are around 60 degrees and frost danger is passed. Plant them very close together so they look good right away.
Zinnia offers a wide range of flower colors and loves full sun and hot, dry weather. It does well in most soils. Give adequate space for air circulation as these plants are susceptible to mildew. Deadhead to encourage blooms. Several heirloom varieties of Zinnias are still in the seed trade including ‘Cactus’, named for its resemblance to the cactus-flowered Dahlias, and ‘California Giants’, another cactus-flowered variety. ‘Lilliput’, known in the United States by 1910, carries button-size flowers on 2-foot-tall stems, while ‘Scarlet Flame’ is a lovely Dahlia-flowered cultivar with bright red blooms.
Balsam shines in partial shade but also grows in full sun. This was a favorite in Victorian gardens. The flowers come in white, pink, rose, red or purple. They will grown about 2 feet tall. You can also purchase dwarf varieties. Seedlings are the best way to start them. You can plant seeds directly in the garden after your seasons last frost date. They are a member of the impatiens family. Add composted organic matter to the soil for optimal performance. Balsam is often grown in containers,balconies or terraces and is a good edging or bedding plant.
Heliotrope perfumes the air with the scent of vanilla. This is an old fashioned perennial shrub from South America and introduced to Europe in the 1700′s. Plant in full sun to partial shade and provide extra water during dry spells. It likes fertile soil but doesn’t like to have wet feet. Its aroma is best in the evenings and if you place a pot near a window a large pot filled with them would enhance the entrance. The small purple flowers grown in clusters. Moisture is important and they like the afternoon shade. Heliotrope is not cold hardy and the seeds may take up to a month to germinate. Buying a seedling is the way to go. Pinch the plants for a bushier look.