Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Annual Affair

It started small, as all flirtations do. Bright flowers wink from the pages, promising easy growth and summer blooms. My heart beat quickens and I forget my other tasks, weak to the temptation of garden love, desire expressed in large black circles,     emphatic red stars, and finally the click of a mouse  How to choose when you love so many? Here are the ones I just couldn't live without:

These are linked in green to the websites I purchased them from. The pictures are taken from the websites, as well.

Ammi visnaga 'Green Mist'


I've been a bit in love with this annual since I spotted it last year on Select Seeds' website. It looks like Queen Anne's lace but isn't invasive. I'm hoping it will self sow in my garden so that I'll have it every year. I've never grown it before but it was described as being of "the easiest culture". This is in the carrot family and is a host to swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.

Cardinal climber (Ipomea multifida)


I found these seeds at a seed exchange I went to in early February. After seeing gorgeous pictures of them in Sage Butterfly's garden last summer, I scooped them up. It's supposed to be easy to grow and attracts hummingbirds.

Orlaya grandiflora 'White Lace'


Orlaya is similar to ammi 'Green Mist' but is much smaller and has more open flowers. It needs much sharper drainage than the ammi does so I'm planning on adding it to my container garden. Because it's in the carrot family, it will also host swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.

Sweet Peas





My mom grew sweet peas along the side of our military base house when I was a kid and I was transfixed by their fragrance. I haven't grown them since my kids were babies but decided about an hour ago to try them again. I'm glad my impulses come cheap!

Zinnias

Zinnias were the first flower seed I ever grew successfully. Water, sun, a bit of compost, and being pinched back a bit is all they need to be spectacular.


Button Box zinnias are a compact variety from Baker Seeds that only grows to about a foot tall. These are also headed for a pot  in my container garden.


Park's Pastel Cutting Blend are tall zinnias with huge flowers. I was captivated by how soft the pastel shades are. These are also headed to a big pot in my container garden.

70 comments:

  1. Gorgeous colors! I sooooo need Spring to sprung :)

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  2. Great choices! I know what you mean--sometimes you just have to have them...

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    1. Sometimes the heart just wants what it wants. :o)

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  3. I'm with you on the zinnias. I'm growing an heirloom variety this year called Persian Carpet. Supposed to be very tough and mildew-resistant! http://www.seedsavers.org/onlinestore/Flower-Seeds/Flower-Persian-Carpets-Zinnia.html

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  4. Love the Ammi and the Cardinal Climber, both totally new to me. Maybe I should try the Ammi now that it turns out my Zizia isn't a host plant for Swallowtails.

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    1. Do you plant curly parsley, fennel, or rue? I find lots of swallowtail cats in those plants . I've also found them in my carrots. :o)

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  5. I, too, have ordeed annual seeds of sweet peas and zinnias this year, although sweet peas are best planted here in the fall garden. Oh well, we will see what comes up. I am planting 'Cupani' sweet peas, an heirloom variety that is supposed to be more heat tolerant. You made good choices in your seed selection, and you should have some nice color, texture, and fragrance in your summer garden!

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    1. When I lived in Oceanside, CA my mom grew sweet peas in the winter and we had lots of blooms all spring. I'm looking forward to growing them again.

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  6. I love these flowers and grow many but the first one reminds me of the wild Queen Anne' Lace...so lovely!!

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    1. I've always loved Queen Anne's Lace but never wanted to introduce into the garden because it's so invasive. I'm so happy to have found a substitute. :o)

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  7. That Orlaya appeals to me every time I see it but I have yet to give it a try. I'm going to have to scout around for a local source.

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    1. I've never grown it before. I hope it tolerates our humidity.

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  8. A lot of great choices. I love Zinnias, so many colors and such fantastic blooms.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Zinnias are some of my favorite summer flowers.

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  9. Lovely choices, I'd like to have them all! Loved the Cardinal climber, never seen that one before. I have been thinking of growing sweet peas for...well, for years, but never get around to doing it, mainly because I have no room for them in my flower beds and I am not sure they would tolerate a container. But I would love to have a go :-)

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    1. You could try growing them in a tall pot and letting them cascade down the side. I'm doing that with a 'Major wheeler' honeysuckle that I didn't have room for but couldn't resist.

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  10. Such beauties!! I might just steal some of these ideas.....

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  11. All your choices look wonderful, and I'm sure they will make themselves at home in your garden.

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    1. I hope so! I've never grown ammi or orlaya before so I hope they grow well and aren't duds.

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  12. I also got some zinnias :-) recently

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  13. I love your choice of seeds!!!! I grow sweet peas every year, sometimes it is difficult to find a good spot, because you have to change each year. Zinnias also beautiful, the red Ipomoea I can only grow in the conservatory but your climate is much better for it. The Ammi visnaga, a beauty, did not grow well in my garden but the Orlaya grows like mad. I have photos on my blog last summer, August I think, and I collected pockets of seed of them, so in April I shall sow plenty of Orlayas. Wish you a lot of success with your seeds!

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    1. That's really interesting. Do you know why the ammi struggled? I've never grown it or the orlaya so I'm hoping they do well.

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  14. I do love zinnias, but as a rule, I'm not a fan of annuals. However, your passion for these beauties makes me at least rethink them.

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    1. I don't grow tons of them but I like saving a few spots in my container garden for my favorites. The ammi I'm direct sowing right into my garden. I like the idea of the garden not looking exactly the same every year.

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  15. You sound so much like me!! Those seed and flower catalogs are so enticing! Not sure if you've seen the latest Park Seed Catalog (with the yellow Calibrachoa Superbells on it). There are so many flowers in that catalog calling my name! Love your choices. I bought quite a few seeds this year (as always) and I'm also trying some new ones. I bought Ammi a few years ago. I'm not sure if it's the Visnaga, but mine have self-seeded all over the place. I adore Sweet Peas but haven't been able to grow them here for some reason. Good luck with all your seeds. I look forward to pictures once they're blooming!

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    1. My goal is to get my sweet peas into the ground next weekend. Did you do anything special to get your ammi to grow so well?

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  16. Sweet peas have been on my list to try for years and yet I have never sown any seeds. So pretty and colourful and I can only imagine the scent. Nice choices! (btw- my long awaited women and the garden history post is up)

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    1. Grab a pack of sweet peas and stick a few in the ground. They just might surprise you. :o)

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  17. I like your choices! You always have some really unique flowers I haven't heard of in your garden. The Green Mist and White Lace flowers are lovely.

    Ah sweet peas. I wish I could grow them here but it's a once-in-a-blue-moon occurence that they do well. I have the non-fragrant perennial species but the sweet annual ones burn up here, although they grow everywhere in our mountains.

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    1. Have you tried sowing them in late fall? They like cool/cold weather. I'd never heard of orlaya, either, till I saw it in the catalog. Love at first sight!

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  18. Such lovely selections! I just love the cypress vine aka cardinal climber. The hummingbirds and butterflies absolutely love it. It is so nice to see favorite lists from other gardeners because it reminds me of what I want to add to the garden. I am hoping to add Ammi 'Green Mist' because it is so delicate and lovely.

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    1. I hope my cardinal climber is as beautiful as yours is every year. :o)I'm going to use the ammi as a bridge between two plants that are strongly colored and need something to soften their tones. I love how feathery its leaves are.

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  19. My sweetpeas provided me with blooms all Summer - the more I picked the more they flowered. Perfect!
    The zinnias are beautiful x

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    1. I hope my sweet peas grow. They would be a fragrant start to a new gardening season. :o)

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  20. Classics! The sweetpeas and zinnias and the lovely ammi look-alike for Queen Anne's Lace. As always I find that you pick plants I would choose or that I have already. I like!!

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  21. Wow! Those zinnias are fantastic! I'm growing white wedding this year but I am really liking the ones you listed above! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. I grew 'Polar Bear' last summer and it was a keeper, especially when mixed with other colors. It'a hard to go wrong with a zinnia. :o)

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  22. It was really eye candy for me when I view all the lovely images of the flowers in your garden. The Green mist inflorescences are unique and interesting. It looks like your green fingers are working its magic.

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    1. All the pictures came from the websites I bought the seeds from. The seeds are still tucked into their little packs. I hope my pictures look as good this summer!

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  23. I try to steer clear of annuals as I see them as more work, raising them from seed each year - or more expense having to buy them as plug plants each year. Having said that I'm noticing that somehow, they're on the increase in my garden. I'm regularly doing sunflowers, I just can't have a garden without sunflowers and now Snapdragons are set to make a comeback because the other half likes them. Personally, I was going to go for the Orlaya and the only reason I didn't is because they had run out of seed. I know I'll be checking again this year.

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    1. I used to avoid them,too, but there are a few I really love so I include them every year. I've never grown orlaya before so I hope it does well. It seems like an easy plant to grow.

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  24. Pretty! I immediately though Green Mist was Queen Annes Lace. It's good to see a non-invasive look-alike. I also am interested in the shorter zinnias. I always love the blooms but hate when they grow leggy and flop over.

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    1. Zinnias do best if you cut the seedlings back by half once they're about 6 inches tall. This will give them a thicker stem and create a bushier plant. They also need to be thinned so they have room to grow wider. This helps prevent tall, scrawny zinnias. :o)

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  25. This morning I went to a sale at one of the nurseries I haunt often during the growing season. Last year at the same sale I picked up some very unique glazed pottery pieces and was interested in finding more of the same. Part of the reason for the sale is to give people a chance to get first dibs on seeds and growing supplies. I've never grown annuals from seed and given my track record with indoor plants it's probably best I don't start. Are there any that could be considered idiot proof?

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    1. Zinnias, parlsey, sunflowers, morning glories, forget me nots. I don't grow tons from seed, actually. I prefer seeds you just throw in the ground. :o) Check out my post Seed Starting for Zombies. It worked really well last year. This year I added a panel of tin foil to keep my light from diffusing into the kitchen and my tomato seeds sprouted in 6 days. I swear, if I can grow seeds anyone can grow seeds! If you decide to give it a try, use Burpee coir pellet pots instead of peat pellets. My mini-greenhouses were $5 at Home Depot.

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  26. Mmmm, lovely selection. I grow ammi majus but keep meaning to try visnaga. I really must get on a and sow my zinnias, or they won't be flowering until September...

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    1. Do you do anything special with your ammi? Do you sow them directly into the garden or in little pots in your greenhouse? I was planning on just scattering them in the garden.

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  27. Casa,
    Thank You for advice on zinnias :-) -- I loved them. That's why it's so great to blog. I will remember to cut them down when they are that high. Are they eaten by deers, do you know? We have lots of deer here.

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    1. Unfortunately, I think deer eat everything except hellebores. I live in a densely populated suburban neighborhood with very few deer. I've never seen them in my yard. Plus, I think my noisy dogs would scare them off.

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  28. I said I wasn't going to buy any flower seed this year but like you, my impulses took over! I bought a packet of zinnias as well, so easy to grow and so beautiful. There's no way to resist.

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    1. I don't think I could resist zinnias if I tried. :o)

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  29. I love sweet peas. They make me smile when I see them. They seem to grow wild here. They remind me of lazy drives in the country. Nice choices for new plantings.

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    1. I'm excited about growing them. It will be like welcoming back an old friend. :o)

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  30. Tammy, nice choice of seeds! I love zinnias and sweet pea too. Last summer I'd grown sweet peas in a container and it was a surprise when in fall I got them out of a pot: a large number of ants lived there between the sweet pea's roots.

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    1. I've had ants in my plants before, too. They once caused a plant to fall over because they disturbed the roots so much. I'm glad your sweet peas survived!

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  31. I definitely need to plant some Cardinal Climber this year. The hummers like my native honeysuckle but I've never tried that annual and I think I'll go for it! Thanks for sharing some interesting seed ideas>

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    1. You're welcome! I'm excited to try the cardinal climber. I've never grown it before so it's fun to try something new. :o)

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  32. These are all beautiful - I have never heard of the Orlaya. I don't use a lot of annuals in my garden, even though I know I should as they add so much beauty to a garden. I especially like the sweet peas.

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    1. I'd never heard of it either until I saw it in the catalog. :o)

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  33. Seems like not only are you going to have a bunch of new blooms, but a whole lot of swallowtail butterfly caterpillars too :) I don't have any of these flowers in my garden but after seeing these pictures I might have to change that.

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    1. and down the rabbit hole she falls.... :o)

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  34. Thank you, Tammy, for your encouraging words on my blog today. This has been an extremely difficult week made easier to pass with the love and support of so many wonderful friends.

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  35. I can't seem to stop buying plants either so I tried not to look too closely at yours :). I don't generally plant annuals except for sweetpeas, I love them too. I hope all your purchases will grow well.

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  36. What great additions these are going to be Tammy! I hope you have better luck with your sweet peas than I do. Every year the bunnies get to them before I have a second to rig up some protection for the fresh shoots. This year I must get my act together because their scent is so heavenly. I love both Queen Anne look-a-likes and especially the Orlaya grandiflora 'White Lace'. So delicate and pretty!

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  37. I had a bunch of seeds from a fellow blogger for the Cardinal Vine, Planted a few last summer (it was late in the season) and will plant more this spring.
    I tried the Sweet Peas from starters last year and they didn't do well. Perhaps I should try with seeds, direct sowing.

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  38. I went a bit crazy with ordering seeds the season before last. I got quite a few different cosmos, zinnia scabious, which all did well when sewed direct the first year, but not so well last year when I sewed them into punnets. I still have ammi, orlaya and gysophila to try next spring, and will shortly try nigella and centaurea. Your photos are so lovely, you have fired up my enthusiasm for annuals again.

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