If you're after a cottage garden for spring, it's time to get sowing
Luscious Oriental poppies have large ruffled blooms in pink, red and orange. They tolerate most soils if the drainage is good. The dried flowerheads are a bonus.
If you're after a big display of spring and summer flowers next year, you should sow seeds before the cold weather sets in.
Right now's a good time to sow annuals and perennials including wildflower meadows. Wallflowers, poppies, delphiniums, penstemon, dianthus, aquilegia, pansies, violas, primulas and many more flowers are easily grown from seed.
There's a far wider choice of varieties if you sow your own rather than seeing which seedlings are on offer at the garden centre next spring. Seeds are much cheaper too! One packet of seed will give you enough seedlings for generous swathes of blooms.
Delphinium cultorum. Large-grade delphiniums can be expensive in spring. Plant seed in autumn and they’ll flower in early November; deadhead and they’ll bloom again in February. Look for ‘Dwarf Fountains Mix’ for a wide range of pink, mauve, blue and purple flowers on stocky plants, or ‘Pacific Giants Mix’ for the back of the border and as cut flowers.
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Our pictures show seven flowers to tempt you but there are hundreds more to choose from. For the widest selection of tempting blooms browse these online seed catalogues.
* Kings Seeds
* Egmont Seeds
* Wildflower World
* Owairaka Seeds
Van Hemert & Co Seeds
‘Zinderella Peach Blush’ is a double-flowered crested zinnia in shades of cream, peach and salmon. It’s a superb cut flower, with strong stems reaching 75cm high. A 2014 Fleuroselect Novelty Award winner, this hardy annual flowers over several months. From Kings Seeds.
Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are excellent for bedding, borders and cut flowers. Pictured is double-flowered 'Twinny Peach' from Egmont Seeds.
California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) close at night and open in the morning. They thrive in poor, sandy or stony soils and love the hot and dry. An annual, it self seeds freely but it's easy to control.
Prunella ‘Freelander Mix’ is a hardy perennial that flowers throughout spring and summer. It’s a fast-growing groundcover, to a height of 18cm, and flowers in its first year of sowing. It grows in full sun to part shade and is attractive to bees. Available from Egmont Seeds.
Astrantia major ‘Gill Richardson’
has large, cherry red flowers that appear from November to May if deadheaded. A vigorous grower, it prefers part shade and is at home under trees, on the banks of streams and where the soil
is moist and somewhat clay laden. Like all astrantias, it will tolerate drier soil as long as it’s well mulched. Seeds are available from Owairaka Seeds.
- NZ Gardener