November 3, 2010

Time to Sow Fall Seeds for Spring Flowers

Seeds of larkspur, cornflowers, poppies, nigella and flax
are sown in the fall for spring and summer blooms.

As I walked around the garden, I saw the self-sowing annuals for next spring had already sprouted. It is time to think about sowing annuals for spring blooms.

I like to wait until we've had a killing frost before sowing my seeds. There is a frost in the forecast for this weekend. The frost kills back weeds. I pull out the weeds, then apply a mix of organic compost and soil around perennials. The layer provides good insulation and nourishment for the perennials while serving as a good medium for seeds.

My success rate with sowing both perennials and annuals from seeds has been encouraging and it is less expensive than buying plants in the spring. Some perennials, such as flax, coneflowers and rudbeckia, will bloom next year, but the plants may be small during the first year.

The nigella (Love-in-a-Mist) sprouts are everywhere! I collected seeds and let hundreds fall to the ground. I believe every seed must have germinated!  I'll never have to sow nigella again. (Some of you are on my list and I'll soon mail the seeds.)  Nigella can be sown almost anytime through spring as long as the ground isn't frozen. The plants and blooms have been reliably deer and rabbit resistant in my garden.

Nigella damascena 'Miss Jekyll Blue'
Other impressive flowers from seeds include poppies. The self-sowing California poppies (eschscholzia californica) repeated blooms so often through the summer that I've decided to forgo all other varieties. I will focus on thicker mass plantings of 'Purple Gleam'. I like the soft fern-like foliage, too. These short plants are great fillers among perennials, taking up so little space that they are easy to broadcast around the garden.

The perennial flax 'Heavenly Blue' (linum narbonense) was so beautiful that I collected seeds from my 2010 plants and also ordered more seeds to be sure to have more for 2011. The foliage is still green in my garden and I hope those plants will over-winter. Some self-sown seeds in summer are also sprouting for next year. So impressed with the blue flax, I purchased seeds of scarlet annual flax, linum grandiflorum rubrum and seeds of the perennial compact golden flax, linum flavum compactum.

Of course, my all-time favorite spring flower has to be larkspur. I can't have too much!


Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Deer and rabbit resistance varies based upon the animal population and availability of food. All company or product or patented names mentioned are registered trademarks, copyrights, or patents owned by those respective companies or persons.

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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