But as confident as I am in my gardening abilities, I was frustrated and slightly worried I wouldn't be able to grow the plants I really wanted. Some of my favorites, such as trailing lantana and 'Blue Daze' evoluvus are only grown from cuttings and seed isn't available. So to resolve this I did what I always do: I created a plan, convinced myself it would work, and jumped right in. My reward is plastic cups plump with seedlings to help fill my garden.
I've already transplanted my ammi majus 'White Lace' and 'Graceland' to extra large 32 oz cups to give the tap roots plenty of room. These have huge root systems! The other plants are jealous. I just consider it botanical motivation.
The leaves of ammi majus remind me of Golden Alexanders' (zizia aptera) while ammi visnaga foliage looks like fennel. Both support beneficial insects and have beautiful white flowers.
All my plants are still under grow lights but on warm days I take them outside to help harden them off. Some of my plants have already been transferred to larger pots from their original 16 oz plastic cups.
Annual Scarlet Flax is so easy to grow. It's even sending out new growth at the base. However, I found its letter to management requesting warmer weather and a different paper umbrella in its drinks a bit snarky.
Gomphrena is one of my favorite summer annuals. I had a self-sown seedling surprise me one year so I gave germinating it a try. This is 'Mixed Colors' which grows to about 2 ft tall and has purple, pink, white, and orange ball shaped flowers. Sweet basil seeds from High Mowing Seeds picked up at a Dave Matthews Band concert last summer are growing in one of the pots as is a single phacelia sprout.
Gomphrena, also known as globe amaranth, needs darkness to germinate so I covered the cups with newspaper until sprouts appeared.
Pictured from top left are 'Mixed Colors' gomphrena, 'Pride of Gibralter' cerinthe, ammi (the flowers on both a.majus and a.visnaga look the same), and annual scarlet flax.
Smokey bronze fennel and 'Mortgage Lifter' tomatoes will keep me as well as the pollinators well fed.
So whatever happened to all the plants I wintersowed?
They grew, too!!
Instead of wintersowing in small containers or milk jugs, I used empty containers and tented them with thin plastic propped up by bamboo stakes and held tight with bungee cords. After a wind storm caused the stakes to pierce the plastic, I topped them with ping pong balls. It was highly effective and allowed me the amazing opportunity to buy 144 ping pong balls for $9. I have now a gross of balls, a statement that makes my husband nervous.
Black Eyed Susans, Malva 'Zebrina' (French hollyhocks), linaria 'Fairy Boquet'
NEWS FLASH: Two local nurseries, Merrifield's Garden Center and The Farm at Broad Run are now selling annuals, herbs, and vegetables that have been grown without any pesticides! Hooray!