Hardy annuals to sow in summer

July 21st, 2017 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Calendula 'Snow Princess'

Back in November, I told you about my plants of the new Calendula ‘Snow Princess’. Sown at the end of July, they were still going strong a month before Christmas and were still producing flowers for cutting as well as a very pretty garden display. So I thought I’d remind you to try the idea this year.

What I did was use a plastic six-pack that I’d bought in the spring filled with violas. I washed it out well, filled it with moist seed compost and sowed three seeds, spaced out, in each cell. I covered them with just a little compost and put them on the kitchen windowsill.

I just thought that a little protection, both from hot sun and from slugs on cool nights, might be worthwhile. They were soon up, every one germinated, I turned the pack every day then planted them out as the roots started to emerge through the holes in the bottom.

I’m going to try the same thing again this year with ‘Snow Princess’ and perhaps also try ‘Indian Prince’ and ‘Princess Orange Black’ as well.

But then I wondered: what about other annuals? Zinnias perhaps? But annuals that will take a first light frost or two might be a better bet. Short sunflowers such as the top-branching ‘Soleo’ might be worth a try, or the golden ‘Hello’. And I wouldn’t be surprised if plants like ‘Summer Fruits’ scabious flower well, but on shorter plants than usual.

I think I’d raise them in the same way as last year’s calendulas. The question is: do I have enough space to try them all? Hmmm…

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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