The picture says it all–my larkspur is beautiful this year. Purple-blue and about 4 feet tall, it began with planning, and a packet of seeds sown last fall. But this hardy annual is short-lived in our southern heat. By the end of the month–the larkspur, snapdragons, Dianthus, poppies, and pansies that bring so much color to my spring garden will be toast–bloomed out and going to seed. They’ll go to the compost pile and the garden will need more plants.
Cool. Late May is a great time to plant heat loving annuals like zinnias, cosmos, cleome, celosia and salvia. With dead-heading, water and fertilizer, these plants will carry the garden into the fall. It’s a whole new look–hot and tropical to match our summers. I look forward to the change. But new plants are expensive. Already the cheap four-packs of annuals are disappearing from most garden centers–replaced by bigger pots and bigger price tags. So I’m starting one more round of seeds.
Starting them outside in my version of peat pots, newspaper pots. These bio-degradable containers make for less transplant shock. And that’s what you want in hot weather–plants that take off and grow fast.
As always, starting from seed gives me more choices. I won’t have to take garden-center left overs. Here’s what I’ve recently sown for the long, hot summer: Cleome Violet Queen, Sunflower Vanilla Ice, Love Lies Bleeding, Balsam Impatiens, Melampodium, Zinnia Violet Queen, Celosia Rose Shades and Cosmos Summer dream.
And yes, I do grown perennials–lots of them. But nothing gives me more summer blooms than hot weather annuals. Two I wouldn’t be without–that I just moved to bigger pots today–woodland flowering tobacco and Salvia Van houtti. Do yourself a favor and check them both out–