What seeds are good to sow/plant now (April)?

mommy2noah(7)April 11, 2005

I'm a newbie gardener and I just seem to be making mistake after mistake. Just today, I started a bunch of Shasta Daisy seeds in a pot thinking that they would bloom this summer only to find out they're perennial and won't bloom the first year (Why didn't it say that on the seed package??!!)Argh!

I've been to the local nursery many, many times in the past couple of weeks and always end up paying so much $$$$. Buying these small plants can really add up.

What I'm looking for now are some suggestions for seeds that:

1. Will flower this spring/summer (so annuals I guess)

2. Both sun and shade plants

3. Colorful

4. Different heights

I really like the look of cottage gardening. I like ecclectic looks with lots of color. Can anyone suggest seeds that I could sow to help my garden out?

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Also, what can I do now with the potted Shasta Daisy seeds that I have? What will they look like when they start sprouting? Do I just plant them even though they won't flower? Will they look ok?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 12:23AM
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Hello there!
For me, part of the reward of gardening are those perennials......even waiting a year or two for them to thicken up and thrive is worth the wait! I'm one of those gardeners who goes out every morning and honestly celebrates every single new inch of growth, every bud, every new shoot. What a thrill! Of course, I absolutely LOVE color and blooms but the little new green stuff is amazing to me as well.
Perennials will be worth your wait. Plan out your beds so you have a picture of what they will be like in 2 or 3 years. If you don't like the look of it, most perennials are pretty easy to move around.
I also love the cottage look and have acheived that crazy wild, open, airy look with Black_eyed Susans, purple coneflower, daisies, lots of different varieties of lavender, gaura, low growing deep blue lobelia, snow in summer flowing over my rock wall, sweet william and herbs. All of these are pretty common, easy to find and easy to grow.
Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 7:33AM
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Nothing wrong with filling in with annuals. In fact, despite all the perennials I grow, I wouldn't consider my gardens complete without annuals like cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds. You can direct sow seeds for those annuals right now. Other annuals that you can direct sow now would include batchelor buttons, calendula and alyssum, although those will tend to wither in the heat of high summer. Some other reliable annuals would be sunflowers (including tithonia), cleome, nasturtium and nicotiania. When I've grown perennials from seed, I start the seeds in the spring, keep potting them up through the summer, and then finally plant them in the garden in the late summer/early fall.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 3:25PM
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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)

Ditto waiting on the perennials and I love shasta daisy.

EZ to grow are bachelor buttons, cosmos and zinnias.

Don't forget creeping phlox and candytuft for a low growing carpet.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 3:27PM
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- For plants that will bloom this year and won't break your budget, to a MAG plant swap! i don't know where in VA you are, but if you're in NOVA, of course i want you to come over the river to the Maryland spirng plant swap (being organized on the Exchange page of this, the MAG forum), but the folk in VA will want you to go to their plant swap in Burtonsville, Chantilly. (SEE VA forum for details.) You really want to go to both.

- Most "native" plant seeds are OK to sow now. Most flower seed packets will say if they flower the first year (if they're perennials; if it's an annual, it had better!); first-year flowering is a big selling point. If the packet doesn't mention first-year flowering, chances are it doesn't - or the label was designed with the more experienced gardener in mind and they forgot that most of us aren't sure! (You are not alone!)

- Annuals make fine "filler" until your perennials establish; i agree with MaryMD, that while my true love is perennials i cannot resist continuing my affair with annuals.

- Many annuals have big seedheads which are very easy to collect and save to plant the next year; cosmos, zinnias, and sunflowers will give a range of colour. Beans, both ornnimental hyacinth bean and edible pole beans, have lovely flowers; i think my purple podded pole beans, originally selected for flavor, are as pretty as any ornimental bean.

- Beware of Morning Glories. They are very pretty, but can become wildly invasive; get some too hardy, and they will be your worst weed for years to come.

- Remember that some of the most beautiful flowers bloom only for a few days; for long-term colour, think foliage. Coleus is a bright as any flower. (It also is very easy to propogate from cuttings, so one flat of inexpesive baby plants can be multiplies to fill odd corners of a whole bed.) Like coleus, caladiums can add colour and be overwintered indoors for the next year. For perennial plants with interesting foliage, aucuba is a bit simple, but propogates easily from cuttings and is very hardy; ideal for the newbie gardener. (And i can't imagine anyone with an aucuba not being delighted to share a few cuttings with you!) Japanese varigated artimesia and deadnettle "beacon" are two of my most colourful dappled shade plants, beautiful the first year and more beautiful every yer after. Varigated liriope and black mondo grass make a nice contrast.

- Hint: plant in patches; groups make a much richer impact than individuals.

- Plant some long-term investment plants your first year, so you get to enjoy them as soon as possible. Lilac are pretty hardy, and may take a couple of years to establish, but once they do, during their season they are the queens of the garden!

- Bulbs are the closest you'll get to "instant success" with plants. Start saving your pennies for fall; those big, fat bulbs go on super-discount late in the fall (when store shelvers are cleared for Christmass merchandise); even if your ground is frozen by then, if you've pre-dug holes and a bushel of soil or mulch to fill 'em with, you can still plant spring-blooming bulbs 'till New Years.

- "search" first year flowering on the Cottage Garden forum; this has been discussed there repeatedly.

- Hope that helps. Happy gardening,

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 9:30AM
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