I have mostly planted containers for this season’s show of annuals, with the old stalwart re-seeders popping up in the recently cultivated parts of my garden, mainly along the lavender hedged walkaway. I lost lots of the reseeding annuals when I mulched my perennial borders around five years ago. I think that was a huge mistake. My purpose had been to keep the weeding down and to preserve moisture, but it made more of a growth environment for the weeds and caused the ground to be hostile to annuals which like good tilth and some cultivation to to germinate. The violas also were lost for a different reason: they need exposure to light for germination and I think the mulch impeded that.
Anyway, I have had some failure to note. One is Schizanthus which I tried this year. I bought plants from a local source and they were perfectly beautiful when planted in the containers. We had a very hot spell and then lots of rain with cooler weather… then went on vacation. I tried to move all my containers into a secluded and sheltered spot, but the Schizanthus melted out. They were such beautiful colors and echoed the Salpiglossis in mutual enhancement. I would like to try them in another year, since they are recommended for growing under similar conditions as are recommended for impatiens: under shade trees with the ground kept moist. Moisture is sometimes a problem in my garden- both times of too much and not enough, alternatively, but I have a couple favored places…
Ed Hume Seeds gives this info:
SOWING: Sow indoors from February to April. Sow outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Don’t cover seed, firm into soil with the back of your hand. Seeds need darkness to germinate, so cover flat or planting bed until germination occurs. Uncover and provide plenty of light as soon as young seedlings appear.
THINNING AND TRANSPLANTING: When Plants are 2 to 3 inches tall. thin and transplant 12 inches apart.
GERMINATION: 2 to 3 weeks, depending upon soil and weather conditions. Keep soil moderately moist during germination.
Salpiglossis , another plant which I’d often read of but can’t remember ever trying. It is rather like a petunia dressed for Mardi Gras. Really showy, yet sort of delicate at the same time. It weathered through the conditions that gave way to the Schizanthus’ demise and I am now a fan. eHow describes this plant as having rich jeweled tones, and that is exactly how its look should be attributed. Along with the poor man’s orchid (Schizanthus) it is also a cool season flower. Perhaps it was the unusually cool weather we had that preserved it- the hot wave has hit us now, and I will keep my fingers crossed that it still does well. All my containers are in need of a shot of fertilizer.
Doug’s Garden blog has a great photo of Salpiglossis, so take a look.
I tried Laurentia this year. It comes originally from Australia, and belongs to the Campanulaceae family. A good light blue, it is graceful in manner and dotted with starry blooms of sharp pointed petals. It is recommended for sun, but I have put it in a part-sun situation. So far it has stayed strong in the heat- like you would expect from an Aussie. I’ll have to observe it further to know more of how it performs in my garden. I have it in the containers, but I think it would be even better in the garden itself.
Last years purple fennel reseeded itself – I was really happy about that. It is now blooming with its softly chartreuse umbels…making the Shasta daisies underneath none too happy. Fennels are not good companions and have a tendency to dampen the growth of surrounding plants.
Tags: Salpiglossis, Schizanthus,Laurentia