Regular readers will be aware that we like to grow annual flowers on our plot. Our reasons are threefold, for cut flowers for the house, to provide a nectar bar for insects and lastly, but by no means least, to add colour to the plot and give us something of beauty to enjoy.
Last summer we have two main beds.
The plants in one bed were raised in modules and planted out and the left over seeds were mixed up and later sown directly in another bed. We enjoyed both beds but were pleased at the success of the direct sown bed.
This encouraged us to try some direct late summer sowing of hardy annual seeds to try and produce some early flowers next year. Self sown annuals that successfully overwintered and flowered early added further encouragement. We sowed, cornflowers, a mixed packet of seeds, calendulas and some larkspur. Germination of the first three was excellent. The larkspur was old seed and didn't do as well. At present all are protected by enviromesh and, although it is early days, so far so good.
Some wallflowers, sweet Williams and sweet rocket will also sit out winter and hopefully provide early flowers.
As I browsed the seed catalogues my mind turned to which old favourites I would continue to grow, which varieties I would drop and which new varieties to try out.
I ended up with three new types of flower and one that didn't fare too well but which I thought was worth trying again.
I've grown the low growing ageratum in the past but I didn't realise that a taller variety existed and that it is supposed to be a long lasting cut flower.
I was attracted to the shape of the amberboa - these are related to cornflowers and are a type of sweet sultan. The are supposed to be aromatic, make good cut flowers and be loved by butterflies and bees - sounds perfect.
I liked the colour of the gaillardia which is also another that claims to be a good cut flower. A few red flowers seem to add zing to a flower patch.
Another plant that claims to produce good cut flowers is the didiscus or lace flower. It didn't do too well last year but the odd flower that were produced made me keen to give it another chance.
Our full list of flower seeds (so far) is here. Flower seed order.