As hard as it is to believe, spring will be here before we know it. It’s nearly already time to start the hardy annuals! Then before we know it it’ll be time to sow the heat loving summer flowers. I know, I know, that’s crazy talk. But whether we’re ready or not, it’s coming. And friends, I’m so excited to get to serve our community and get my hands dirty again! Last year was our first year growing flowers for cutting and to say that I was hooked is an understatement. Who knew that there was such a variety of flowers and foliage out there to grow?! Because last year was our first year, I planned out a simple layout with 5′ sections of each variety which worked out perfectly. It was plenty to give away, sell, and keep for our own enjoyment. This year I’m keeping the 5′ sections and growing more of what we loved with different varieties. Also new this year is the South Garden, that will be the home for our spring blooms and hardy annuals. We had used this space exclusively for veggies in the past, but using it for flowers in the spring means less transition time between spring and summer flowers.
This upcoming year I’m excited to grow 7 different varieties of ranunculus since they were such a hit last year. These were one of my favorites to grow last year and SOOOO fragrant! We’ll also be growing 5 different varieties of anemones, which I’m eager to try growing again this year. Last year, I didn’t receive them until late in the season this year and they’re particularly fond of cooler weather so when I planted them, let’s just say they weren’t happy. This year, I got them from a supplier who will ship them *much* earlier in the season to give them a long, cool establishment period (which is important) and a cooler bloom period (also very important).
Something else that didn’t get in the ground *nearly* early enough last year was our Icelandic poppies. Like the name suggests, they love the cold and are super slow growers, so by the time I put them in the ground and then the warm weather came… they weren’t happy campers. This year I ordered plugs that will be able to be planted when they need to be, along with some other varieties of poppies that tolerate warm weather better. Returning this year will be one that I truly loved, Poor Man’s Orchid. They really do look like little orchids and they have an incredible vase life! I’m also including something new and BLUE, a gorgeous variety of Delphiniums with cheery yellow centers and strokes of lavender. We’re also adding white mignonette, and 3 varieties of Larkspur that I think everyone will love.
And last but not least… the garden goddess herself, queen Peony. Our Bowl of Beauties are mature and will produce a plethora of blooms and I’m excited to see how many our younger second year ones produce this year. We planted a ton last year, so I expect to see a bloom here and there that will surely be treasured. Spring is always my favorite season because it’s the first moment of color after months of brown and grey, but who wouldn’t be excited when the lineup looks this good?!
Summer/Early Fall Flowers
Our summer plan includes a couple varieties of some *gorgeous* garden workhorses, zinnias and cosmos. These guys are one of the most productive plants that we grow, with the zinnia patch last year producing up to 80 blooms per week EACH. I’ll be growing Zinderella Lilac again (the fuzzy pink one) and this year I’m excited to try the Queen Lime Blush as well as Floret’s newest zinnia variety, Little Flower Girl. The Cosmos are super adorable, dainty, and prolific, which makes them a perfect addition.
This year we’ll also be growing a rotating crop of sunflowers so we have a continuous supply of sunflowers throughout the season. I decided on a mixed seed packet that included all of the varieties that I was hoping to grow, as well as the iconic style of sunflower that everyone knows and loves. And of course you can’t forget the queen of the summer garden, Dahlia. Just like last year, I’ll be growing them from tuber (which creates a direct clone of the parent plant, photos below) as well as from seed (which takes characteristics from both parent plants and creates all new varieties).
I’m particularly excited about this year’s dahlia seedlings, which I’ve gotten from a dahlia hybridizer in Pennsylvania, and will also grow some from Floret’s breeding patch. I’ll be trialing a few things this year that I have high hopes for, foxglove and china asters. Foxglove are biennials so there’s a chance they won’t bloom until next year, it just depends on the kind of first winter they experience. China asters typically bloom in late summer so I expect to see them sometime in August or September.
So friends, what flowers are you most excited about seeing this year?