So many gorgeous flowers and too little space! That’s my dilemma as I pore over the seed catalogs.
Some of the outstanding flowers for 2013 I covered in The All-Season Garden Guide, which will be out in March. However, there are plenty more I didn’t have space to write about, like the following gems.
If you want many perennials like coneflowers, it’s much cheaper to grow them from seed. Why pay $5 for a 4-inch pot when you can have a dozen or more for $5 or less? ‘Cheyenne Spirit” Echinacea, a 2013 All-American Selection winner, makes a vivid landscape impact when planted in mass, and plants are drought-proof, disease-free and draw pollinators.
'Supreme Cantaloupe' is one of many new Echinacea this season. All are perfect for dry, sunny areas and attract pollinators and birds. Photo courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries.
Another Echinacea or coneflower I love is ‘Supreme Cantaloupe’. It’s a creamy orange flower with long petals surrounding a frilly triple head. I grew it last year, and the flowers were dazzling. Hummingbirds and butterflies loved them, too.
‘Big Kiss Yellow Flame’ gazania was also a winner in my drought-struck garden last summer. Flowers are 4-1/2-inches in diameter, with stunning color that doesn’t fade. Plants bloomed continually, and they thrived in the heat. These tough plants are excellent for edging, as they are low and spread, and in containers.
Photo courtesy of Fleuroselect.
A Hungarian-bred deep orange celosia, ‘Arrabona’, is a dazzler, especially massed in beds. The 13-inch-high flowers are a 2013 Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner. Seeds are easy to start, plants are drought-proof and the fiery flowers remain in bloom forever! Their unique color and toughness make this flower the perfect no-work landscape element.
Photo courtesy of Ball Horticulture.
A new trend is to fuse different flower seeds together so they sprout and grow as a coordinated package. That’s what ‘Blueberry Lime Jam’ petunias are, deep purple and lime-white petunia seeds in one pellet. Just push two or three pellets into a container and watch them sprout and grow with harmonizing beauty.
Tropics in Miniature
Photo courtesty of Suntory Collection.
Bougainvillea is a tropical “wow” plant with pink, purple and even orange bracts that laughs at the heat. Most of us can’t grow it, but Suntory has bred a tiny 8-inch-high version of bougainvillea that we can enjoy. Sunvillea Dwarf Bougainvillea is great in containers and as annual bedding plants. They won’t survive below 30ºF, but containers can be brought indoors to winter in a sunny window. Look for them at local garden centers.
Doreen Howard has written for The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide for 15 years and is the former garden editor at Woman’s Day as well as a photographer. She has grown more than 300 varieties of heirloom edibles and flowers in the last two decades.