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Gardening Tips

Browallia Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:8”
Days to Germination: 14-21 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Browallia americana. Browallia is summer’s version of Forget-Me-Nots: masses of clean, deep green foliage topped with oodles of amethystblue flowers. It blooms from June through September and even self-sows! Seeds are most successfully started outdoors, directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed in spring, in full sun to partial shade. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and keep them moist until germination. Thin seedlings to 8" apart. Browallia makes a wonderful filler for summer borders, and never seems to stop blooming. It prefers a bit of afternoon shade in warmer climates, and does not require dead heading. While it is technically a perennial in warmer climates, it is generally grown as an annual in North American gardens. Annual. Summer flowering. Height: 16" to 24".

Shade Tolerance
Cosmos Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:1”-2”
Plant Spacing:9”-24”
Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature:68°-85°F

Cosmos bipinnatus. A tremendous cut flower, easy-to-grow Cosmos prefers to be direct-sown in the garden after the last frost date. Plant them 1⁄2" deep in well-draining soil with full sun. Keep uniformly moist until the seedlings emerge, about 10 days after sowing. If you must start Cosmos indoors, you may plant them 1⁄2" deep in a good seed-starting medium at 68° to 85°F about 5 to 7 weeks prior to the last frost date. Provide even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Once established, thin to the strongest seedlings. Once 3" tall, transplant seedlings 9" to 24" apart in the garden. Quite forgiving, mature Cosmos plants will thrive in infertile or dry soil. Prized for wildflower meadows, their delicate flowers and feathery foliage belong in every heirloom garden. Summer flowering.

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Bee-Loved Romantic Cosmos
Cottage Pinks Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Seed Spacing:1”
Plant Spacing:6”-12”
Days to Germination:14-21 days
Germination Temperature:70°F

Dianthus plumarius. Hardy, this low-growing favorite may be started indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date. Start in a good seedstarting medium at 70°F with even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Once the seedlings are well-established, thin to 2" to 3" apart and grow on indoors at a lower temperature, about 55°F until they are 3" tall. Prior to transplanting, acclimate the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks. After the last frost, transplant out 6" to 12" apart in the garden. A perfect border or rock garden plant growing in low mounds, it prefers well-draining, sandy to loamy and average to slightly alkaline soil in full sunlight. A good cut flower, it is also regarded as a decorative edible. Spring flowering. Height: 12".

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Shade Tolerance
English Daisy Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/16”
Seed Spacing:1”-2”
Plant Spacing:6”
Days to Germination:10-15 days
Germination Temperature:70°-75°F

Bellis perennis. English Daisies have long been beloved in European gardens. The pompon flowers hover on leafless stems just 6" over a spreading mat of semi-evergreen foliage. Tuck them into stone walls and beneath daffodils and tulips to add a dash of charm to your spring plantings. English Daisies abhor heat. In warmer climates, afternoon shade is a must, while in cooler climates full sun is best. Direct-sow seeds in the garden on top of the soil in late winter or early spring. Keep the seeds evenly moist until germination. When the seedlings are 2" to 3" tall, thin them to 6" apart. Supply them with plenty of moisture until they’re established, and then mulch to conserve soil moisture and restrain their rampant reseeding tendencies. Treat English Daisies as annuals in Horticultural Zones 8 to 10. Biennial to Perennial. Late winter to early spring flowering. Height: 6".

Shade Tolerance
Heliotrope Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Seed Spacing:4”-5”
Plant Spacing:8”-12”
Days to Germination:7-30 days
Germination Temperature:70°-80°F

Heliotropium arborescens. Germinating Heliotrope may take several weeks. It is best to sow it indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date. Sow seeds lightly in seed starting mix, barely cover and provide consistent heat, strong light and moisture. Transplant to larger pots once the seedlings are large enough to handle. When they are 4" tall, harden the seedlings off by gradually acclimating them to the outdoors over 7 to 10 days. Transplant out in rich, well-draining soil and full sunlight. Water regularly and mulch to deter weeds and retain ground moisture. Feed regularly and pinch back to make them bushy. Another heirloom, Heliotrope has clustered, tiny, trumpet-shaped flowers and a heady perfume. They may be dug out and potted up before the first fall frost and brought indoors as a winter-blooming house plant. Summer flowering. Height: 12" to 24".

Perfumed Evenings
Whenever I smell Heliotrope I think of the scene in Our Town, in which the girl smells her mother’s Heliotrope from her bedroom window. I like to plant fragrant flowers where their scent will waft indoors at night: Nicotiana next to the back door, perhaps. Or Four O’Clocks under the open kitchen window at the base of the screen porch.

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Hollyhock Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Seed Spacing:6”-8”
Plant Spacing:18”-24”
Days to Germination:10-14 days
Germination Temperature:70°F

Alcea rosea. Sow these tall, stately flowers outdoors after the last frost. Sow in a nice spot with full sun and protection from the wind in fertile, well-draining, loamy soil just 1⁄4" deep (they need some light for optimal germination). Keep well-watered until the seedlings emerge, about 10 days after sowing. Or, start indoors 8 to 12 weeks prior to transplanting out after the last frost. Provide even moisture, strong light and good ventilation until the seedlings are ready to transplant out. Acclimate the plants by gradually exposing them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks. Thin or transplant the seedlings 18" to 24" apart when they are about 4" tall. Plants may need to be staked, as the flower spikes are quite tall. A biennial, Hollyhocks may not bloom the first year. Summer flowering. Height: 6' to 8'.

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Managing Biennials
Deciding how to treat annuals and perennials is simple. Annuals dazzle you in summer, then take their leave. Perennials persist as long as they are welcome. But biennials are a two year proposition in which they are sown one year and bloom the next. If you have never tried biennials you might ask, “Are they worth it? I wait a year for this thing to flower, then it’s gone.” Well, not exactly. Biennials tend to be self-sowers which, once established, create their own little program. You have to get with their rhythm and learn to like their individualistic ways. One way is to give them a designated spot. Plant hollyhocks in the rear of a bed, since they’re tall, and next year they’ll make colorful, towering spires, dropping their seeds and creating a hollyhock neighborhood back there. A foxglove neighborhood might be a spot with dappled shade, in and around a shrub border. Forget-me-nots will congregate in a damp spot. Lupines, once introduced, might reappear anywhere; if it’s the wrong place just yank the ones that don’t fit and enjoy the rest.
Joseph’s Coat Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:3/8”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:6”-18”
Days to Germination: 3-10 days
Germination Temperature:60°-80°F

Amaranthus tricolor. Joseph’s Coat’s bushy, whorled stalks of green foliage are topped with hot yellows, reds and cream, looking like nothing short of an exuberant fireworks explosion. And it’s edible! Eat the young leaves raw in salads or steamed or stir-fried. Heat-loving, it can be direct sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in warmer areas. In colder areas, it may be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of frost has passed. Sow seeds in seed starting medium with even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting out. When plants are 4" to 8" tall, thin or transplant 6" to 18" apart. Give the plants full sun and moist soil for the most intense color. Pinching young plants encourages fuller growth. Height: 2' to 3'.
Lace Flower Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/16”
Seed Spacing:1”-2”
Plant Spacing:12”
Days to Germination: 7-15 days
Germination Temperature:55°-65°F

Ammi majus. If you love wild Queen Anne’s Lace as it waves its flowers alongside country roads in late summer, you'll adore Lace Flower. It’s a distant cousin that is more suited to the garden, with stout stems of lacy, feathery foliage topped with large, dense domes of tiny white flowers that are an exceptional filler in summertime bouquets. Sow seeds outdoors after all threat of frost has passed in spring, in full sun to partial shade. Barely cover the seeds with fine soil and tamp down firmly. Keep the soil consistently moist for best germination as the seeds are quite small. Thin seedlings to 12" apart. The sap of this plant can cause skin irritation, so take care when handling. At taller heights the plants may need staking to prevent flopping. Annual. Mid-summer to fall flowering. Height: 24" to 36".

Shade Tolerance
Love Lies Bleeding Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:3/8”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:6”-18”
Days to Germination: 3-10 days
Germination Temperature:60°-80°F

Amaranthus caudatus. Heat-loving, it can be direct-sown outdoors after all danger of frost has passed in warmer areas. In colder areas, it may be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of frost has passed. Sow seeds in good seed-starting medium with even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. Prepare bed in full sunlight with rich, well-draining soil. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them to outside conditions for 1 to 2 weeks before transplanting out. When plants are 4" to 8" tall, thin or transplant 6" to 18" apart. Love Lies Bleeding has verdant green foliage and luminous fuchsia-garnet flowers composed on long rope-like stems that appear like thick, cascading dreadlocks. Prized in Victorian gardens, this old-fashioned drama queen puts on a big show. Summer flowering. Height: 3' to 5'.
Maltese Cross Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/16”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:12”-15”
Days to Germination:21-25 days
Germination Temperature:70°-75°F

Lychnis chalcedonica. Butterflies, hummingbirds, and gardeners all love this old-fashioned, easy-to grow, deer-resistant perennial. Its bright scarlet orange flowers, borne in dense clusters atop tall stems, positively glow in full-sun plantings. Sow seeds indoors in spring, 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Barely cover the seeds with soil, since they require light to germinate, and then keep them moist until germination. Harden off the seedlings by slowly introducing them to the outdoors over the span of a week, and then transplant up to 15" apart after all danger of frost has passed. Maltese Cross prefers consistently moist soil once transplanted outdoors. It’s an excellent cut flower, and cutting and deadheading will prolong its bloom period. Perennial. Summer flowering. Height: 2' to 3'.When the blooms begins to fade, cut the plant back to encourage new growth.

Shade Tolerance
Mignonette Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/16”
Seed Spacing:2”-4”
Plant Spacing:12”
Days to Germination:5-10 days
Germination Temperature:70°-75°F

Reseda odorata. A traditional Victorian cottage garden plant, Mignonette’s medium green foliage yields plump, dense spires of chartreuse and white flowers that fade to cream. While the plant is not overly showy, the flowers are intensely fragrant, with a sweet and spicy scent that makes a wonderful addition to floral arrangements. Even dried, the flowers retain their fragrance for several months, and can be added to homemade potpourri. Seedlings do not transplant well. Sow seeds directly into the garden after all danger of frost has passed, pressing them lightly into the soil. Provide full sun and consistent moisture, and thin the seedlings to 12" apart. Pinching young plants encourages branching and even more flowers. Deadhead spent blooms and sow more seeds every 2 weeks for an extended flowering period. Annual. Summer flowering. Height: 12" to 24".

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Money Plant Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:1”-2”
Plant Spacing:12”
Days to Germination: 10-14 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Lunaria annua. When Money Plant’s pink flowers go to seed, the seed pods are flattened and the size and shape of a silver dollar, and are wonderful in dried flower arrangements. Sow seeds outdoors in full sun or partial shade, in either fall or early spring. Cover them lightly with soil and keep them evenly moist until germination. Thin seedlings to 12" apart. Provide even moisture throughout the season. The plants prefer full sun in cooler climates, while they benefit from afternoon shade in warmer climates. They will produce only foliage the first year and flowers and seeds the second year before dying. The plants, if left uncut, will usually self-seed. To dry for arrangements, cut entire stems just as the seed pods lose their color, and hang upside down in a dark, dry place. When dry, gently remove the outer coverings to reveal the “silver dollars” inside. Biennial. Spring flowering. Height: 2' to 3'.

Shade Tolerance
Morning Glory Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:6”-8”
Days to Germination:5-10 days
Germination Temperature:65°-85°F

Ipomoea. A spectacular climbing annual, this old-fashioned favorite will scramble up any type of supportive structure for a beautiful floral display until the first frost in the fall. Prior to planting, carefully nick the hard seed coat and/or soak the seeds overnight. Then, direct-sow them where they are to grow after all danger of frost is past. Or, start the seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before planting outside. Carefully thin or transplant Morning Glories to a spacing of 6" to 8" apart without disturbing their roots, and plant in full sun and well-draining soil. Water moderately, as Morning Glories prefer dry conditions. Only fertilize lightly, as soil that is too rich will discourage flower production. Morning Glories require a trellis, fence, string, lamppost or mailbox post to support their long, climbing vines and profuse flowers. Summer flowering. Height: 6' to 12'.

Days of Vines and Roses
If you’re looking for a great trellis on which to grow an annual vine, consider a sturdy, well-established climbing rose. The thorny canes provide excellent support, and won’t mind a little competition. Since the vines will come into their glory later in the season, they’ll add color to a rose that has finished its main flush of bloom. But any overlap will produce handsome combinations as well: Hyacinth Bean or Sweet Peas with a pale pink New Dawn rose, or blue Morning Glories with your favorite yellow-flowered climber.
Ornamental Grass Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Seed Spacing:1”
Plant Spacing:12”
Days to Germination:14-21 days
Germination Temperature:55°-65°F

Seeds are best direct-sown in mid-spring and thinned to 12" apart. If starting indoors, sow into individual pots 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Cover the seeds lightly and keep them moist until germination. Harden off the seedlings by slowly introducing them to the outdoors over the span of a week, and then carefully transplant them, disturbing the roots as little as possible, to 12" apart in full sun and welldraining soil after all danger of frost has passed. Ornamental grass is relatively drought-tolerant once established. To dry the blooms, cut stems, tie them into bundles, and hang them upside down in a dry, dark spot for several weeks. Annual. Summer flowering.
Red Hot Poker Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Plant Spacing:18”-24”
Days to Germination:10-20 days
Germination Temperature:70°-75°F

Kniphofia uvaria. A.K.A. Tritoma or Torch Lilies, Red Hot Pokers love sun and heat, and are perfect for that baking area beyond the reach of your water hose. Moisten seeds and then store them, wrapped in plastic, in a cold place for 4 weeks before sowing them indoors, 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Keep the seeds moist until germination. Harden off the seedlings by slowly introducing them to the outdoors over the span of a week, and then transplant them after the last frost date to 12” apart in full sun and well-draining soil. If the hummingbird-beloved flowers are allowed to mature, the songbirds will make a meal of the seeds, though the seeds that elude them may sprout where they fall next spring. The tough, grassy foliage is evergreen but may get a bit battered in winter. Remove tattered leaves in spring.
Tassel Flower Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Seed Spacing:1”-2”
Plant Spacing:6”-10”
Days to Germination: 8-15 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Emilia javanica. Tassel Flower is prized for its wiry stems of scarlet or orange blooms. Its tousled, pompon flowers are quite small, so its hot hues won’t overpower your plantings. Rather, it weaves in and out of other plants in a densely planted bed, adding a dash of spice. It attracts bees and butterflies and is an excellent cut flower, too. Sow directly into the garden after all danger of frost has passed, in full sun and well-draining soil. Keep the soil consistently moist until seedlings are established. Or sow seeds indoors in a warm spot several weeks before transplanting out. Cover the seeds lightly and keep them moist until germination. Harden off the seedlings by slowly introducing them to the outdoors over the span of a week, and then thin or transplant seedlings to 6" to 10" apart. Annual. Summer flowering. Height: 16" to 25".
Tree Mallow Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Seed Spacing:5”-6”
Plant Spacing:18”-24”
Days to Germination: 7-20 days
Germination Temperature:60°-70°F

Lavatera trimestris. A Mediterranean heirloom, it can be grown almost anywhere, although it prefers cooler, moist summers. Sensitive to root disturbance, it is best sown directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Direct-sow 1⁄4" to 1⁄2" deep in rich, fertile and well-draining soil and full sun. Tamp down and keep the seedbed moist until seedlings emerge. If your season is short, you can start it indoors in peat pots 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting. When seedlings are 4" tall, harden them off by gradually acclimating them to the outdoors over 7 to 10 days. Thin plants to 18" to 24" apart. Provide consistent moisture. A long-lasting cut flower in white, silver, pink, pink with deep rose veins or mixed, Lavatera produces abundant trumpet-shaped, satiny blooms on long stems. Summer flowering. Height: 24" to 36".