A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Winter Sowing Update

I’ve been wondering why none of the supposedly cool season flowers have germinated in my wintersowing containers. I had expected snapdragons and petunias by now, not the heat loving marigolds and cosmos that sprouted last week. My relief was palpable yesterday when I noted that the Balcony petunias were showing signs of life.

Last year I filled hanging baskets in front of my house with petunias. Buying plants is expensive. I’ve grown petunias from seed in the past so I decided to give it a try again this year. Select Seeds offers a few heirloom varieties. I chose the Balcony petunias both for their colors and their height, 2 to 3 feet tall, intending that they drape gracefully from the hanging baskets. Instead of direct sowing the seeds as I have done in the past, I wintersowed them hoping that they will bloom sooner if they get an early start.

My theme this year may be “Back to Basics” but it hasn’t stopped me from trying new flowers or creating a new garden. Yesterday I was pleased to see that the white foxglove for my new White Garden has germinated. Foxglove are another of those flowers that everyone seems to be able to effortlessly grow except me. Wintersowing was the answer, though. Last year I was able to finally grow some wild purple foxglove. Only one survived both my aggressive weeding and the voracious squirrels so I have wintersowed more in addition to the white foxglove and strawberry foxglove (Digitalis x mertonensis) meant for the infamous Entry Garden.

Today I spotted an old friend in one of the containers: Verbena bonariensis. I wintersowed it last year for my plot at Rutgers Gardens. I had some extra which found a home in the border along the Ugly Green Fence. Those never bloomed because they were shaded out by Canterbury Bells that got completely out of hand. I have banished them from my gardens this year so I am hoping for a bumper crop of blooms from this year’s wintersown Verbena bonariensis.


At 12:14 PM, Blogger Connie said...

I love old fashioned petunias and have grown several of them, including 'Balcony'. It has a lovely fragrance, especially in the evening.


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