Well, it was a tumultuous Spring for everyone! Although we were sheltering-in-place, I was still super busy planting and keeping up with the gardens at East End and at home. I hope that you all are doing well! I have really missed seeing everyone at our workshops and events.
I am continuing to grow flowers for as long as the heat and rain allows me to! I’ve received some questions while working in the gardens and on social media about summer flowers: flowers that tolerate the heat a bit better than others here in 9b. I would recommend sunflowers, celosia, zinnias, amaranth and orange cosmos. Don’t get me wrong – it will require a bit more effort on your part to watch out for pests and powdery mildew. But if you can keep these in check, you’ll be rewarded with some cheery bouquets for yourself and to share with friends.
I’m going to share some specifics with you about Orange Cosmos because there seems to be a lot of interest in these flowers at East End. They are very easy to grow all year long here and they self-sow (which is always a plus in my book).
I first came across Orange Cosmos while visiting with Master Gardener John Coykendall at Blackberry Farm. I encountered all of these orange flowers growing everywhere and he said they just keep returning year after year. So I took some seeds home and we’ve been growing them ever since. They do not have any special growing requirements. I use the same gardening principles to get them started and maintained. Their stems are sturdy yet have that wispy affect I like in flowers arrangements. Sometimes you lose petals but the blooms are so prolific that I do not worry too much about that. I’ve had no issues with pests or disease at all. I do pinch the plants and remove spent blooms to encourage more blooms. My biggest problem is keeping all the seedlings in check because they will spread everywhere! I think most of you would agree though that’s a good problem to have!
I’ve purchased extra seed from Eden Brothers and their “Bright Lights” mix includes a yellow variety that is very pretty. These cosmos step in for butterfly ranunculus in our design work when the ranunculus fade.
We covered Orange Cosmos in our Spring Cutting Garden Workshop at Leu Gardens last February. I’d love to know how yours faired if you joined me for that class. If you are not familiar with Orange Cosmos, come on down to the market garden at East End to check them out!