Vivid-hued blooms to brighten rooms

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS -

We’re gear­ing up for spring gar­den­ing, so now is an ideal time to start plant­ing or sow­ing flow­ers for a good show later in the sea­son.

Co­re­op­sis tinc­to­ria, for ex­am­ple, is a hardy an­nual with golden yel­low flow­ers with ma­roon cen­tres. Plants bloom from Novem­ber to Fe­bru­ary and self-seed read­ily. They pre­fer dry soil but will grow in moist spots as well. Sow in trays for trans­plant­ing later. Seeds are avail­able from Kings Seeds.

Purple tansy (Phacelia tanaceti­fo­lia) is of­ten grown as a green ma­nure crop but its lon­glast­ing blooms make ex­cel­lent cut flow­ers. The strik­ing flow­ers reach any­where from 50cm to 150cm high and bloom in spring and summer for sev­eral weeks. Sow seeds in pots for trans­plant­ing, or sow di­rectly in the ground af­ter the last frosts. Most seed mer­chants of­fer purple tansy.

Hy­acinth bean (Doli­chos lablab) pro­duces bright laven­der sweet pealike flow­ers fol­lowed by waxy, bur­gundy-red pods. The pods are great for pick­ing, last­ing some time in the vase. The plant is an an­nual vine; grow as you would for sweet peas, in full sun with am­ple mois­ture.

Plants will grow in most soils as long as drainage is good. Plant in pots for trans­plant­ing when frosts have passed. Seeds are avail­able from Kings Seeds.

Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies (Eschscholzia cal­i­for­nica) are easy to grow, thriv­ing in dry, poor soils. As cut flow­ers, they’re short-lived but they’re vi­brant in the vase with their bright orange blooms. Press seeds on to the sur­face of seedrais­ing mix and keep in a warm spot un­til ready to pot up. Po­si­tion them in full sun. These are an­nu­als, but in the right spot they will self­sow. Most seed mer­chants of­fer these.

Gom­phrena glo­bosa ‘‘Bi­colour Rose’’, also called globe ama­ranth, has pretty clover-like flow­ers on 50cm high stems. It’s a sum­mer­flow­er­ing an­nual, last­ing a week in a vase – though the pa­pery bracts are ev­er­last­ing once picked.

Sow seeds in trays for trans­plant­ing later. Plants are drought-tol­er­ant and like full sun and well-drained soil. You can buy seeds from Eg­mont Seeds.

Yar­row (Achil­lea mille­folium) is a great gap filler, both for the gar­den and the vase. It has a ten­dency to take over your patch if left alone, but a quick snip, or yank, will keep it in check.

There are many gor­geous colours avail­able these days, from white, pale pinks and soft lemon, to in­y­our-face cerise, or­anges and reds. Sow seeds in trays for trans­plant­ing out in the gar­den when big enough.

One of my favourite peren­ni­als is Trache­lium caeruleum. It’s a sem­ishrubby plant that pro­duces a large pow­der puff of purple flow­ers through­out summer and au­tumn.

It’s per­fect for semi-shaded spots, though it will grow in sun too, and its flow­ers are very long-last­ing in the vase.

It’s a half-hardy peren­nial, though it can also be grown as an an­nual. Seeds, avail­able from Eg­mont Seeds, can be sown in trays now for later trans­plant­ing.

Cheer­ful: Cal­i­for­nia pop­pies (Eschscholzia cal­i­for­nica) are easy to grow, thriv­ing in dry, poor soils.

Bright-eyed: Co­re­op­sis tinc­to­ria is a hardy an­nual.

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