Roses: The Queen of Flowers

Rose GardeningOrganic gardeners have been growing roses for well over 2,000 years!

Loved for their beauty and fragrance, roses are cultivated for a variety of landscape effects or for cutting. The members of the genus Rosa are prickly stemmed shrubs with a wide range of heights and growing habits. There are as many as 150-200 species and thousands of varieties, from miniatures (6 inches to 2 feet tall) to climbers that may grow 20 feet or more. Perennial.

Site Preparation

Roses like a good, well-drained soil and will grow best in protected spots with ample water and full sun. Plants require at least 8-10 hours of sunlight per day for optimum growth. (more…)

Petunias

PetuniasThe beautiful, soft-petaled, many-colored petunia is a flower straight from our childhood.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 55-75 days from seed to flower
Height: 10 to 18 inches
Spacing: 8 to 18 inches apart in all directions

Flower gardeners are growing petunias for their dazzling colors and prolific blooms that continue from early spring until frost. Available in hundreds of varieties, petunias are one of the most popular flowering annuals and are well suited for use in borders, baskets and containers.

Native to South America, the first petunia specimen (Petunia multiflora) was discovered at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata and was white in color. The original plants were hardy, had trailing 2-3 inch stems and incredible scents. These scents have been lost in many of the modern-day hybrid varieties. Fortunately, many of the old fashioned, heirloom varieties are still available to fill the air with their amazing fragrance. Plants grow 10-18 inches tall. Self-seeding annual. (more…)

Pansies

PansiesTruly historic and extremely beautiful, pansies are often the garden’s first seen flowers.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 60-85 days from seed to flower
Height: 4 to 10 inches
Spacing: 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions

One of the most widely grown of all garden flowers, pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) – also known as violas – will bloom in a variety of colors all summer long and thrives in cool spring-time conditions. Striking plants with beautiful, round-faced blossoms are perfect for growing in containers, rock gardens, borders or edging. Plants are short lived in hot environments. Self-seeding perennial (grown as an annual in the North), 4-10 inches tall. (more…)

Nasturtium

NasturtiumA quick and easy-to-grow annual, nasturtiums’ trailing vines spread rich colors just where you need them.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 55-70 days from seed to flower
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Spacing: 8 to 12 inches apart in all directions

A quick and easy-to-grow annual that reseeds itself freely. Home gardeners are growing nasturtium (Tropaeolum) for their colorful flowers and attractive foliage. Great for cool-weather climates, beautiful blossoms can also brighten up salads and pastas… they’re edible! (more…)

Morning Glory

Morning GloryA true old-fashioned beauty, morning glory’s large, trumpet-shaped flowers come in a variety of wonderful soft colors.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 75-110 days from seed to flower
Height: 6 to 15 feet if grown on a trellis
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart in all directions

A favorite! Home flower gardeners are growing morning glory (Ipomoea) for their vibrant colors including purples, reds, pinks and blues. This vigorous vining plant is often found covering country fences where their delicate flowers greet you with the morning sun.

Perfect for covering walls, privacy screens and lattice – give these hardy annuals support and watch them grow! Dwarf varieties, with their multi-colored blossoms, are especially unique! Self-seeding annual. (more…)

Marigolds

Growing MarigoldsOne of the simplest – and most beautiful – flowers to grow, marigolds guarantee a reliable splash of color all summer long.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 50-80 days from seed to flower
Height: 6 to 18 inches
Spacing: 8 to 18 inches apart in all directions

Marigolds (Tagates erecta) are an easy-to-grow, compact flower ranging in color from pale yellow to deep orange and rust. They make a spectacular addition to containers and borders or scattered throughout the garden. Also, great for dried blossom arrangements.

Marigolds tolerate a wide range of soil and climate conditions, but especially love heat. There are many varieties of this cheerful garden favorite from miniature to giant. Try growing marigolds in and around vegetable plants to repel insect pests. Hardy annual. (more…)

Growing Lupine

Growing LupineA spring-time favorite, growing lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) provides flower gardeners with a brilliant array of colors. Plants have stiff, erect flower spikes of 1-4 feet that emerge from horizontal foliage. Flowers are similar to those of peas or sweet peas and grow in large, crowded racemes of deep blue, purple, yellow, pink or white. Found growing wild throughout most of the northern United States. Short-lived perennial.

Site Preparation:

Easy to grow, lupine thrives in cool, moist locations. It prefers full sun to light shade and average soils, but will tolerate sandy, dry soil. Plants develop long taproots, so loosen the soil to a depth of 12-20 inches using a roto-tiller or garden fork. They will not grow in clay.

Tip: For dramatic results, mass lupines in borders or scatter them throughout the cottage garden (see Flower Gardening 101). (more…)

Lilies

Garden LiliesA favorite! Lilies with their large, attractive flowers add a splash of color to wherever they’re planted.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 70-120 days after spring growth
Height: 1 to 6 feet
Spacing: 8 to 12 inches apart in all directions

One of the most beautiful summer-flowering plants, home gardeners are growing lilies (lilium) for their exquisite trumpet-shaped blooms. Stems are strong, upright and unbranched, 1-6 feet tall. Flowers are large, beautifully colored in both bold and pastel shades and often fragrant.

Lilies may be grown individually in formal or naturalistic settings or en mass. Smaller species make excellent container plants. Blooms from late spring through early autumn, depending on species. Hardy perennial. (more…)

Hollyhock

Hollyhocks Impressive plants — up to 9 feet tall — with large single and double blooms provide old world charm to gardens.

Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 365 days or more from seed to flower
Height: 4 to 9 feet
Spacing: 18 to 36 inches apart in all directions

Home flower gardeners enjoy growing hollyhocks in borders or against walls and fences where their spectacular flowers stand tall above all else. The classic variety (Alcea rosea) has graced outbuildings and farmsteads for more than a century. Very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Showy blooms of white, light-pink, magenta and burgundy completely cover 4 to 9 foot stalks. Hollyhocks are considered a biennial, that is, they grow foliage the first year and flower, form seeds and die the next. Plants easily self-seed to provide an endless supply of blossoms. (more…)

Gladiolus

GladiolusGrown from corms, gladiolus — available from miniature to giant — are favored for their large, showy blossoms and classic, spiky stems.

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 70-95 days from corm to flower
Height: 2 to 5 feet
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart in all directions

Gladiolus with their dramatic sword-like leaves have sturdy flowering stems that grow up to 5 feet tall. The trumpet-shaped flowers come in shades of almost every color and are the perfect backdrop to garden beds. Home flower gardeners particularly enjoy growing gladiolus for long-lasting cuttings and floral bouquets.

Summer bulbs, like “glads,” are the perfect addition to the flower garden. They combine beautifully with annuals and perennials, offering a uniqueness that completes the landscape. Try planting over several weeks in spring to create brilliant displays of color throughout the summer months. Smaller varieties can be grown in containers where space is limited. Tender perennial often grown as an annual. (more…)

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