Thursday, December 31, 2009

Clasping Coneflower

Botanical name: Rudbeckia amplexicaulis (Asteraceae)
Other name:

A hardy annual native to the southeastern United States, and has naturalized throughout most of North America. The identifiable black, cone-shaped heads are surrounded by bright yellow, drooping reflexed ray flowers. This drought tolerant annual is quick growing, with masses of 'Mexican hat' blooms all summer, aloft blue-green foliage. Grow in wide drifts to create a natural 'prairie' effect in the garden. A very heavy reseeder. Another wonderful variety for cut arrangements.

How to grow
It is adapted to many soil types, but clasping coneflower generally prefers a moist site. Natural stands are usually found on bottomland areas with a fairly rich soil and ample moisture. It prefers full sun and will not persist in a shaded location.

Height: 1 1/2-2 feet
Germination: 7-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 70F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: June-September
USDA Zone: 6-10

Cosmos 'Sensation' Mix

Botanical name: Cosmos bipinnatus (Asteraceae)
Other name: garden cosmos, Mexican aster,

This series of annuals produces extra large, cup-shaped blossoms to 3-1/2 inches across in shades of white or pink all summer long. Large, sturdy plants have beautiful ferny foliage This Mexican native is loved by butterflies. It produces excellent cut flowers and is ideal for a cutting garden, mixed border, or annual border.

How to grow
One of the easiest seeds in the world to grow. Cosmos seed looks like miniature pine needles, which makes seeding simple. Just scatter the seed over freshly turned bare soil, and then compress the seed into the dirt. Do not cover.

Height: 3 to 6 feet
Light: Full Sun
Soil: Adaptable
Germination: 7-10 days
Optimum temperature for germination: 75F
Blooming period: Summer through Fall
Seed Depth: 1/4 inch
Seed Spacing: 1 inch
Thinning: When 1" -2" tall thin to 1' - 2' apart
USDA Zone: 3-10

Love-in-a-mist 'Persian Jewel' Mix

Botanical name: Nigella damascena 'Persian Jewel' Mix (Ranunculaceae)
Other name: Persian Jewels, Wild Fennel, Nigella damascena, Devil-in-a-bush, Jack-in-the-green, Lady-in-the-bower

This small to medium sized annual grows 15-24" high and up to a foot wide (if not crowded). Plants have finely cut, bright green leaves that resembles fennel leaves. Light green, lacy, finely divided threadlike bracts form the “mist” surrounding the jewel-like flowers.

Flowers are usually bright blue to very pale blue. Each flower is 1½” across, with 5 large, petal-like sepals and small, deeply divided petals hidden beneath the stamens. The flower is followed by attractive, balloon-shaped “seedpod” (actually an inflated capsule composed of 5 fused true seedpods) up to 2” long and green with purple or bronze stripes. Love-in-a-mist looks good in the garden even when the plant is not in bloom, with its handsome foliage and interesting seedpods after flowering.

'Persian Jewels' series – is a mixture of shades of mauve, lavender, purple, rose, light blue and white double flowers.

How to grow
Love-in-a-mist is very easy to grow. The plants do best in full sun in well drained, fertile soil. Sow the deep black, sharp-cornered seed about ⅛” deep where you want the plants to grow, as love-in-a-mist does not transplant well because of the plant's long taproot. Seeds should germinate within 2-3 weeks under most conditions. Begin sowing as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring. Seeds can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting outdoors, but they should be sown in individual peat pots and transplanted with care. Love-in-a-mist tolerates frost, so is primarily a spring and fall annual; it does not perform well in hot weather.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dame's Rocket

Botanical name: Hesperis matronalis
Other name: Dame's Violet, Mother-of-the-Evening, Sweet Rocket, Danask Violet, Dame’s Gilliflower, Night Scented Gilliflower, Queen’s Gilliflower, Rogue’s Gilliflower, Summer Lilac

An upright, hardy perennial native to Europe, but has escaped cultivation and adapted throughout most of the United States. Delightful lilac-purple flowers are concentrated at the end of sturdy stalks. The genus name, Hesperis, is Greek, meaning "evening", referring to the plant's unique characteristic of filling the night with its ever so sweet fragrance. It can be seen from great distances when planted in mass.

How to grow

Height: 2-3 feet
Light: Prefer full sun
Germination: 20-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 70-80F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Soil type: Moist soil preferred.
Blooming period: May-August


Botanical name: Silene armeria (Caryophyllaceae)
Other name: Sweet William Silene, Garden Catchfly, None-So-Pretty, Campion

The name comes from the way in which small insects are trapped by the sticky sap exuded onto the stem. An attractive annual or tender perennial native to Europe, but has naturalized throughout the United States. The generous rosepink flowers are arranged in compact clusters radiating from a slender stem. Makes a breathtaking display when planted in mass.

How to grow

Height: 24-36 inches
Light: Partial shade to full sun
Soil: well-drained soil
Germination: 15-25 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 70F
Sowing depth: Surface Sow no deeper than 1/16 inch
Blooming period: May-September

Ox-eye Daisy

Botanical name: Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (Asteraceae)
Other name: White Daisy, Margurite Daisy, White Weed, Moon Daisy, Oxeye, Leucanthemum vulgare

An herbaceous perennial in the aster family (Asteraceae) with numerous stems from 1 to 3 feet tall. Stems are slender, erect and may emerge from the root crown or singly from an upturned rhizome. Stalked basal leaves are spoon-shaped, broadly toothed, and 2 to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide. The stem leaves are alternate, smooth, glossy and dark green. The leaf stalks are short and clasp the stem. Solitary flower heads composed of 15-30 white ray florets that surround a compact yellow disc with a depressed center. Flowers occur singly at the ends of stems and bloom from June to August. The fruit is a flat seed 0.08 in long, 10-ribbed, dark gray at maturity with no pappus. The root system is comprised of shallow, un-branched roots and rhizomes. Plants reproduce by roots and seeds.

How to grow
Excellent as a ground cover or border since the foliage is attractive and remains green year round. An ideal cut flower for arrangements lasting up to ten days. A prolific reseeder.

Soil: Moist and rich soil with well-drained
Spacing: 12” to 15”
Light: Full Sun to Part Shade
Germination: 15-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 70F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
Blooming period: May-July

Ox-Eye Daisy is edible and medicinal. Young spring shoots are edible, finely chopped and sparingly added to salads, said to be strong and bitter, young leaves are cooked as a pot herb. The whole plant, and especially the flowers, used as a medicinal herb is antispasmodic, antitussive, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, tonic, nervine and vulnerary. Constituents include Essential oils, Tannin, Saponins, Mucilag, Bitter Principle and Flavones. It has much of the same properties of Chamomile. The flowers are balsamic and make a medicinal infusion for relieving chronic coughs and for bronchial problems. The herb is used in the treatment of whooping cough, asthma and nervous excitability. The root is used successfully for stopping the night-sweats of pulmonary consumption. Externally, it is used as a medicinal lotion for wounds, bruises, and ulcers. A distilled water made from the flowers is an effective eye lotion in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

Corn Poppy

Botanical name: Papaver rhoeas (Papaveraceae)
Other name: corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy, red poppy

A hardy annual native to Europe, which has naturalized throughout the United States. The large 2-4 inch blooms are fire engine-red vividly marked with purplish-black centers individually borne on erect hairy stems. The foliage remains inconspicuous allowing the flower to express its full beauty.

How to grow
Performs best if sown in late fall in the southern regions of the U.S or in early spring in the northern regions of the U.S. An outstanding spring favorite.

Height: 2-2 1/2 feet
Germination: 10-30 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 60-70F
Sowing depth: Surface Sow
Blooming period: March-July
Suggested use: Flower gardens, roadsides, meadows, mixtures, cut flowers.

Its seed is a moderately useful commodity, used in bread dough, for example, and to decorate bread. The red petals are used to make syrups and alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks. Red poppy syrup is a traditional beverage of Mediterranean regions like Bozcaada.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baby Blue Eyes

Botanical name: Nemophila menziesii (Hydrophyllaceae)
Other name:

Baby blue eyes is a trailing annual, 6 to 12 inches tall. Flowers are bell-shaped, 1 inch in diameter, with sky blue blossoms and a white center, very freely blooming. Foliage is pale green, lacey, and delicate. Used effectively with bulbs as a low cover. Likes cool, moist climates, not heat tolerant.

How to grow
It is easy to grow and requires little maintenance. These flowers are planted extensively in rockery, hanging baskets and around borders.

Height: 6-12 inches
Spacing: 9-12 inches
Light: Partial Shade to Full sun
Germination: 12-20 days
Optimum soil temperature for germination: 55-65F
Sowing depth: 1/16"
USDA Zone: 3-10
Blooming period: March-May (Summer)