Tag Archive: flowers

Chocolate Cosmos – Cosmos atrosanguineus

I bought a dormant root of these rare Chocolate Cosmos online from Farmer Gracy in the Netherlands and have planted it in moist compost today. I am optimistic that it will burst into life but at present it looks very dead. Many years ago these used to grow wild in Mexico but are said to be extinct now. They have a strong chocolate smell I’m told. We shall see, I have bought seeds of a White variety, Purity, from Higgledy but haven’t sown them as yet. I believe Purity is a taller variety than Chocolate. I have grown these from seeds before in the flower bed at the allotment and they gave us a wonderful show of white, pale pinks and mauve. This variety of Cosmos is Half Hardy and flowers from June to September. The advice is to cut down after flowering and store the corms in a frost free environment until the following year. 11th April and still no sign of the Chocolate Cosmos from Farmer Gracy. I contacted the company and have been told to give it another month. I shall do that but feel a bit disappointed as the bare root purchased from Wilkinson’s for £2 is showing good growth. They were treated the same and are sitting next to each other in identical pots.

The wonderful Cosmos flower is native to meadowland and scrub  in Mexico. They have naturalised in USA and South America. Though perennial plants in their native land they are not in the UK and should be considered as annuals. 

The chocolate Cosmos from Farmer Gracy never came to anything so I was refunded, however, the cheap one from Wilko made a lovely plant. I have read that this variety should be treated as an annual but, after taking a couple of cuttings and some seed heads, I have brought the pot indoors to overwinter in the porch. The flowers were really intense in colour and though smaller than I anticipated I liked them very much.

 

 

 

 

 

Mirabalis Jalapa Marbles Mix – Marvel of Peru 2017


Mirabilis Jalapa is an outstanding plant that will produce flowers that are marbled in colours of red, white and yellow. The flowers open in the early morning and evening , Sow seeds between February and April on the surface of a good quality seed compost and cover lightly,  Seeds can take up to a month to germinate. DO NOT EXCLUDE LIGHT as this helps germination.  Keep the compost moist but not waterlogged.  Once large enough to handle transplant into 3″ pots and grow on. When all risk of frost has passed plant out in Sunny well drained site with rich soil. Info, seeds and pictures from Seekay. Four-o-clocks are bushy annuals with colourful flowers and a sweet lemon or orange fragrance. They grow equally well in part shade as well as full sun. They begin flowering in midsummer when sown directly as seed, but will flower earlier if grown as transplants. The individual flowers open early in the morning and late afternoon and are also called four o clock flowers for that reason. They often will stay open until the following morning then close and die.  A single plant may contain different coloured flowers depending on the mix. M. jalapa is a bushy, tuberous perennial often grown as an annual, with fragrant flowers opening in the afternoon, in a wide range of colours, and sometimes bi coloured.

I received these seeds today and am looking forward to growing them. They sound very interesting. I plan to soak a few seeds overnight with a view to sowing in modules. I was pleased to learn that they have a  citrus scent too. I have sown these seeds today Wednesday 1st February and apparently they can take up to thirty days to germinate. Update – 12th March and there is one two inch seedling standing alone like a Meer cat on guard and quite a few seeds showing signs of growth. It was worth the forty day wait. 20th March I have potted on six strong seedlings. Update March 2018 – Only two of these seedlings made it into a decent plant and I potted them both on into 7″ pots. Update 2018 – I have sown another eight seeds. Im not sure that last years will come back. They are pretty flowers but overall I was disappointed. We will see what this year brings. Update September 2018 – Well no more disappointment. This year has given us three large bush like plants. One marbled colours, one beautiful, bright yellow and one delicate,  pale mauve colour. These plants will be in my garden every year from now on.

Another bonus is the amount of beautiful black seeds produced on this years plants.

Cornflower – Centaurea Cyanus

Centaurea cyanus, commonly known as cornflower, is an annual in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe. In the past it often grew as a weed in fields of grain. It is now considered to be endangered in its native habitat by over use of herbicides.  I am very familiar with these flowers but haven’t grown them from seed before. I have sown twenty each of Blue Ball and Black Ball, into a tray of moist compost. They shouldn’t need heat but do need light. These Annuals are usually sown directly into the garden in September but I am trying to start a few now. We shall see. 11th Feb – All of the seeds have germinated already after five days. 16th Feb – All potted on. Update = All of these seedlings have keeled over and died. I shall try direct sowing later.

Cerinthe Major Purpurascens – Honeywort

I haven’t grown these plants before and they first came to my attention whilst watching an episode of Life in a Cottage Garden. Carole Klein was extolling their virtues and showing us how to start them from seed. The plant, fully grown in her own garden, looked enormous but I decided then that I musts give them a try. I have put just two seeds into a little tepid water to soak and plan to sow them tomorrow, 6th February. The individual seeds are quite big. I bought mine from Higgledy at £1.99 for 10 seeds. There were actually 12 in the packet. Germination should be about two weeks. First seedling through after 8 days.

Cerinthe is a beautiful hardy annual. It has oval, fleshy blue-green leaves, mottled with white, and rich purple-blue, tubular flowers held inside sea blue bracts. Bees love it. For early blooms sow in pots indoors in early spring. Alternatively sow outdoors in April. Once introduced into the garden, self-sown seedlings will mean that it rarely disappears. information from BBC site.

Eryngium Planum Blue Hobbit – Sea Holly

Eryngium Blue Hobbit  is a dwarf Eryngium, which can be grown in a patio pot. The 12″ plants become top-heavy in midsummer, with sprays of nearly 100 inky-blue flowers. Blue Hobbit is a herbaceous perennial with spiny edged leaves and spiky, cone-like, bright blue flowers on strong stems throughout summer and autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four of the six seedlings survived and are now potted on into five inch modules. I hope that they make it through to May for planting out in the garden.

Geum Mrs Bradshaw

Geum Mrs J. Bradshaw is a clump forming herbaceous perennial with fuzzy, dark green pinnate leaves and erect purple stems supporting double flowers. The rich scarlet blooms set against emerald green foliage are a bonus in the border. These hardy perennial plants will flower all summer from June right through to September. An excellent Geum variety awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases. Cut back the foliage after flowering to encourage new growth. Update – Only two of the seedlings made it through the Winter and they have been potted on again into five inch modules.

 

Rudbeckia Orange Fudge – Brown Eyed Susan

Today, 30th January, I was presented with a packet of Rudbeckia Rustic Dwarf seeds with a last sowing date of this year. I have sprinkled the whole packet onto a tray of moist compost and put it into a polythene bag and look forward to seeing some seed leaves pushing through in a couple of weeks. This vibrant coloured flower is also called Cone Flower, and I had some of those in the perennial seedlings that I bought from T&M. Unfortunately they didn’t survive the Winter.

History : Rudbeckias are members of the daisy family and were named by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus to honour two eighteenth century botany professors, Olof Rudbeck the Elder and Olof Rudbeck the Younger. Linnaeus is reported to have told his teacher , Rudbeck the Younger, “so long as the earth shall survive, and each spring shall see it covered with flowers, the rudbeckia will preserve your glorious name”.

Germination update – 5th February and lots of green seedlings pushing through after only one week. Very good for seeds dated 2005.

Didiscus Lacy – Trachymene

I can’t wait to see these flowers in bloom this year. They are an annual plant that self seeds so hopefully will stay in the garden for years. I have sown twenty seeds in a seven inch pot of good compost, enclosed the pot in a polythene bag to retain moisture and I shall keep it in the warm until germination. This could be up to three weeks. Didiscus is a member of the parsley family and is related to Dill and Fennel. 29th April – I have lost these seedlings to frost so have sowed another pot today.

Sow Lace Flower seeds, Didiscus, indoors six weeks before last expected frost. Sow the seeds into moist compost and cover very lightly. Keep the compost moist until germination. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into pots and gradually acclimatize to outdoor conditions for two weeks. Plant outdoors after all risk of frost has passed. This annual variety of Didiscus will grow to a height of 90cm. The plants produce flower heads that range in colour from Rose White, Pink through to Lavender. This variety makes an ideal plant for cut flowers that appear in July / August. Another good buy from Seekay at 99p for 100 seeds.

Lobelia Cascade Mixed

This morning, 27th January,  I am sowing the Lobelia seeds bought from Seekay (99p). When I saw that there were 3000 seeds I was surprised but now I’ve seen them I understand. They are really tiny dust like seeds and impossible to separate. I have sprinkled some on top of a seed tray of compost in which I have buried the tiny modules that my perennials arrived in from T&M last year. I did buy a packet of Lobelia seeds years ago and sprinkled them directly onto the soil on the flower bed at the allotment but they never grew. I shall probably use these half hardy annuals in containers and around the pond when it is done. I do prefer single colours and didn’t realise that I had bought mixed. If I am successful with them this year I shall buy them annually as they are  a pretty space filler. Update 21st January 2018 – I had no success at all last year with these. I have sprinkled a pinch of seeds onto a pot of Dahlias that I have put together today.

Sow indoors, January-April. A warm kitchen windowsill is all you need for starting these seeds. Sow thinly on the surface of a small tray of pre-watered compost. Place in a warm, light position. Keep the compost moist. The tray can be covered to preserve humidity, but remove when seedlings appear, usually in 14-21 days. Transplant them, in tiny clumps, 2″ apart, to other trays when large enough to handle. Grow on in cooler, but not cold conditions. Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions , before planting out, May-June, 15cm (6″) apart, into well-drained soil, when frosts are over. Flowers: June-October . Information from Fothergill Seeds.

Antirrhinum Majus Maximum Mix – Snap Dragon

This morning I’m having a look at sowing some Snap Dragon seeds early. It’s still only late January so it may be too early. I bought the seeds from Seekay and paid 75p for 3500. I did a bit of research and learned that the seeds need to be put in to the fridge overnight before sowing, having done this I have prepared a seed tray with damp compost ready to sow tomorrow. It seems that this herbaceous perennial doesn’t need heat to germinate but does need light. Seeds are now sown in a tray of moist compost, enclosed in a plastic bag and set on the window ledge for decent light. 28th Jan. I will try to remember to sow some seeds directly into the garden in July.

Surface sow in March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 10 – 21 days at 18°c. Cool nights assist germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in July/August and will produce larger and more floriferous plants the following summer.