Who doesn’t enjoy flowering plants? Their intoxicating scents, eye-popping colors, fancy shapes and textures are truly beautiful. Yet, with so many flowers for the garden and types of flower gardens that can be grown, where does one start. These unfussy, long-lived plants pump out beautiful foliage and flowers year after year. Plant in fall or spring when cooler temperatures help them get a healthy start.
Nicotiana is a genus of herbaceous plants and shrubs of the family Solanaceae, that is indigenous to the Americas, Australia, south west Africa and the South Pacific. Various Nicotiana species, commonly referred to as tobacco plants, are cultivated as ornamental garden plants. Nicotianas were popular in early America and were planted by Thomas Jefferson. This tall variety produces flowers that open in the day; the colors range: pink, red, lavender, rose, and white. These are easy to grow and cause a splash of color.
Named after the ape-like rare creature that legend says inhabits the Himalayas, these white “Yeti” nasturtiums are rare indeed. Not just things of folklore, here is a creamy-white flowering variety that blooms on long trailing vines that have large leaves. In my garden they are a light yellow not white.
One of the most rewarding direct-sown flowers you can grow. Light, silky blooms float above rounded leaves on vining or bushy plants. Blooms and buds are edible too, a peppery or mustard-like addition. In the case of nasturtiums, it's convenient because you can plant them right where you want them to grow and never have to transplant. Just wait till the danger of frost has passed. To prevent accidental weeding, mark the planting site with a label. Because of the distinctive foliage, nasturtium seedlings are easy to spot. In zones 8 -10 they are self-sown and will come up every year.
Mallow Zebrina is a magnificent plant with spires of bi-colored flowers. Blooms all summer and fall for great color. (Malva sylvestris)An old Cottage-garden favorite, this cousin to the Hollyhock has similar satiny flowers in a soft lavender-purple shade, exotically striped with deep maroon veins. It forms an upright, bushy mound that may need to be staked if grown in rich soil. This is a short-lived perennial or biennial, often flowering itself to death in the first year, but coming back the next year from self-sown seedlings. Excellent in containers, or the sunny border. In cold regions this is well worth growing, because of the long blooming season. Flowers are attractive to butterflies. Also known as Striped Mallow.
(Formerly Chrysanthemum maximum) No sunny border would seem complete without the familiar presence of Shasta Daisies. This is a very tall selection that exhibits excellent tolerance to summer heat and humidity. Flowers are large single white daisies with a yellow eye, valued in the garden and excellent for cutting. Divide plants every 2 to 3 years to maintain vigor. Removing faded flowers regularly will greatly increase the blooming time. May require staking if grown in rich soil. Attractive to butterflies.
Nothing completes a country bouquet like great zinnias.Zinnias are annuals, shrubs, and sub-shrubs native primiarily to North America, with a few species in South America. Most species have upright stems but some have a lax habit with spreading stems that mound over the surface of the ground. They typically range in height from 10 to 100 cm tall. leaves are opposite and usually stalkless (sessile), with a shape ranging from linear to ovate, and pale to middle green in color. The flowers have a range of appearances, from a single row of petals, to a dome shape, with the colors white, chartreuse, yellow, orange, red, purple, and lilac
A native to the eastern United States, purple coneflowers are found in many flower gardens. Planting purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in the garden or flower bed draws bees and butterflies, ensuring that nearby plants have plenty of pollinators. The plant also provides a tall background or repeating rows of large (often 6 inches across) purple, daisy-like flowers. The sturdy stalks, which may reach 5 feet in height, rarely bend or require staking for an upright appearance. Coneflower plants may actually display pink flowers, when the cultivar Echinacea purpurea ‘Pink Double Delight’ is planted. Purple coneflower plants grow best in poor or lean soil. Rich or heavily amended soil may result in lush foliage and poor flowering.
A reminder of things Victorian and a graceful accent in arrangements. Amaranthus caudatus is a species of annual flowering plant. It goes by common names such as love-lies-bleeding, pendant amaranth, tassel flower, velvet flower, foxtail amaranth. Many parts of the plants, including the leaves and seeds, are edible, and are frequently used as a source of food in India and South America – where it is the most important Andean species of Amaranthus, known as kiwicha. The red color of the inflorescences is due to a high content of betacyanins, as in the related species known as "Hopi red dye" amaranth.
The growing and care of lantanas (Lantana camara) is easy. These verbena-like flowers have long since been admired for their extended bloom time. There are several varieties available that offer a multitude of colors. Depending on the region and type grown, lantana plants can be treated as annuals or perennials. Grow lantana flowers in the garden or in containers. Trailing varieties can even be grown in hanging baskets. Lantanas also make a great choice for those wishing to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden.
Gaillardia is more commonly known as blanket flower and produces daisy-like flowers all summer long. Blanket flower is a short lived perennial that tends to reseed prolifically. There are several schools of thought about preparing blanket flower for winter. Some gardeners feel pruning blanket flower plants back and mulching is the way to go. Others do not prune, but deadhead, and do not mulch. Let’s discuss how to winterize blanket flower. Blanket flower starts readily from seed and will produce larger and larger patches of the flower over the seasons just from seed. The plant prefers excellent drainage and hot sunny locations in the garden. It will die back as temperatures drop in fall and that is when some blanket flower winter care comes into play.