Saturday, April 2, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favorite... Seeds

The first year I started gardening on my own, I went against my dad's advice and bought all kinds of seeds.  It's easy to get drawn in by the beautiful pictures on the front of the packets.  Standing in front of the huge display, visions of beautiful flowers danced through my head.  

Needless to say, when few actually came up, I was pretty upset.  Dad never said, "I told you so."  Instead, he said all new gardeners go through an 'unrealistic phase' in their gardening.  

So, after doing some research, I realized you can't take all seeds and expect them to grow directly in the garden.  Some require very specific conditions to start growing.  Fortunately, not all seeds are this way.  You may be asking, "Why mess with seeds in the first place?"  It's more cost effective... cheaper.  If you can get a dozen plants to grow from a .99 cent package vs. a flat of plants for $10... well, you see.  So here are a few tried and true, easy to grow, money saving seeds that you won't regret buying for your flower garden this year.

  1. Bachelor button
  2. Zinnia
  3. Cosmos
  4. Morning glory
  5. Sunflowers
  6. Sweet alyssum
  7. Sweet william
  8. Marigold
  9. Nasturtium
  10. Hollyhock  

A few notes on flowers listed above:
  1. Bachelor button- does best in full sun, in a location somewhat sheltered from wind, as they flatten easily.  They were discovered in King Tut's tomb, woven in to a wreath (from 1340 B.C.) so, yeah, they do pretty well in dried flower arrangements...
  2.  Zinnia- does best in full sun.  Keep the leaves dry when watering if possible.  Great in flower arrangements.  Deer resistant.
  3. Cosmos- thrives in full sun and poor soil.  Don't fertilize and you'll have more flowers.  Doesn't need much water or attention. 
  4. Morning glory- vigorous climbing vine that does best in full sun.  I grow this as a 'screen' for the side of my porch.  Soak the seeds in warm water overnight prior to planting.  Requires some maintenance of the spreading vines.  If you don't mind spending a few minutes each day guiding the vines, the flowers are worth the effort.  Blue ones are my personal favorite.
  5. Sunflowers- just about everyone has grown a sunflower or two in their life.  Plant in full sun, and space according to packet directions.
  6. Sweet alyssum- does best in part to full sun, in poor soil.  Low growing flower in white, pink, or purple that makes a sweet-smelling border for a flowerbed.  Re-seeds itself for flowers the next year.
  7. Sweet william- does best in part to full sun.  Fragrant.  Another re-seeder.  Many interesting theories of where the name originated.  In England the flower was known as 'Sweet William,' while in Scotland it was 'Stinking Willie' or 'Sour Billy.'
  8. Marigold- does best in full sun.  Grew these in my garden last year. They looked great from Summer through Fall.  The yellow ones look like dandelions to me, so I just stick with the orange and rusty reds.  As the flowers dry up you can take the seeds and spread those for even more plants.
  9. Nasturtium- does best in full sun, in poor soil.  No need to fertilize.  The flowers and leaves are edible; my kids loved eating them.  They're very pretty in salad and taste 'peppery.'  May be bought as a plant, but does better when started from seed right in your garden.
  10. Hollyhock- does best in full sun.  Bought a few plants at a greenhouse for $8 each.  They did alright, but the hollyhocks I got from seed were huge and did just as well or better for a lot less money.  Hollyhocks grow very tall, and are useful as a backdrop in a flowerbed.

"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides."  ~W.E. Johns

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