Thursday, June 15, 2006

June Bloomin Annuals

I’m a cheap bastard. My frugality is one of the reasons why I refuse to buy annuals. Yet, who can resist the gaudy colors and incredible fragrance (of some)? This year, I grew mine from seed.

Some were very easy to germinate, like California poppy, while others were extremely stubborn: cleome and cosmos. When I started the seeds, it seemed like it would be a lifetime before they bloomed. Instead, I was surprised to see the first flowers in early May (Sweet Alyssum). I present to you a gallery of June-bloomin, from-seed, annuals that I grew myself!

Nasturtium – yes, the flowers are edible, but I can’t bring myself to eat the first blossom! The tomato-red color is intense.

California Poppy – these are wildly happy in the magnolia bed. I planted them as place-holders for the biennial wallflowers that are busy growing their first-year rosettes in pots. I am so pleased with this plant that I will find places for them next year as well.

Stock – probably the easiest annual to germinate. I gave Mary dozens of seedlings that I just didn’t have a place for. They have a lovely clove fragrance.

Sweet Alyssum – quick to germinate and flower. The blooms have a warm honey scent. Why didn’t I grow more of these?!

Sweet Peas – I’ve found these to be slow growers. Only the peas planted in a container have flowered so far (probably because the soil temperature is warmer). Those planted in the ground are just starting to put on some good growth. I’m afraid the hot weather will hit before I see blooms. The flowers do have a nice scent – just like the sweet pea scented body products.

Nicotiana – this is easy to grow and has touchable, fuzzy leaves. The flowers, though, have been a disappointment. They are scent-less and an ugly greenish-white.

Lilliput Zinnia – the seeds had a so-so germination rate. Next time I’ll sow many more than I need. I love the bright flowers!

Snapdragons – this seeds rivaled only stock for the highest germination rate; I gave away many seedlings to my friends at work. I know I was supposed to pinch my plants, but that just seemed too cruel, so they are flopping all over the place. I had to hold this flower spike upright to get a photo.

I’m still waiting for the mignonette, cleome, cosmos, tall zinnia, gazania, heliotrope, poppies, flax, moonflower, cardinal vine, morning glory, and annual rudbeckia to flower.


Blogger OldRoses said...

My experience with annuals is the exact opposite of yours! Cosmos and cleome are easy. Snapdragons, nicotiana, stock, etc impossible.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Everything looks so pretty! I grow all my annuals from seed, too. I didn't have much luck with my California Poppies, but they're so beautiful, I'd like to give them another try. Similar to Oldroses, I've found cosmos the easiest to grow... Snapdragons are difficult, but once they get established, the will actually survive as perennials here is Zone 7.
Your photos are great!

3:59 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

The sweetpeas should be good in hot weather too--I had ten foot vines full of flowers on my annual sweetpeas the year I grew them in August, still, if I remember right.

You should try perrenial sweetpeas. Mine are blooming now, and I sowed some more for other spots around the house. The only drawback is their lack of scent, but they do establish quickly.

Your annuals look very nice! I just wait for the sales for the annuals (except zinnias--I have those almost ready to plant out.) When the flats of annuals are $5, it doesn't seem so bad. :)

Did you still want some purple spiderwort? I wasn't sure if you got my email, or had time to reply to it. It's been a while. (Of course I have pink and white and pale purple now too, but no extras as of yet.)

5:55 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Lovely! Which nasturtium is that? I couldn't decide between all of the gorgeous reds so I have both Empress of India and Mahogany. I hope my Empress looks as lovely as yours.

With the nicotiana, someone on the GardenWeb boards told me that nicotiana alata and nicotiana sylvestris are the two that have the best scent. I'm trying the alata this year, but I admit that I sowed them late so they're still just babies.

By the way, I'm a cheap bastard, too. I overwintered sweet potato vine and coleus cuttings last year and started lots of annuals from seed.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...


I'm jealous because this was the first year I tried winter sowing. I was so convinced I would screw it up somehow that I really didn't sow that many seeds. The annuals I have are zinnias, petunias, nasturtiums, marigolds (which I don't like all that much, but I have them near my tomatoes for aphid control) and morning glory.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kasmira,
I looked back on my gardening mags - and it was Euphorbia that someone made their garden's main to repel deer. I don't know if it would work as well for rodent, though. Margigolds are another good one for veggie gardening. . . Anyway, it was in BHG's Spring 2006 Perennial magazine.
Your gate is lovely. One low creeper-esque plant i love love love and would highly recommend is a Datura they call Moon Lily up here (Vermont) it dies off each year, but fills in really nicely - say a 3'x4' 10 inch tall swath of furry green leaves and long angel's trumpets that smell divine. Happy gardening!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Breena Ronan said...

Nicotiana is usually white with a nice scent, so I think you must have an unusual variety. I kind of like the green color. Great pictures!

1:38 AM  

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