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What did you grow that was new to you this year, etc.

16 years ago

What did you grow that was new to you this year, did you like it, and why/why not? Let's share the things we've learned the hard way. Please let us know what climate zone you're in, or where you are, for comparison purposes.

I'll start.

Achillea: Moonwalker (yellow): way too short, maybe 9" tall, sparse flowers, obviously not happy here, won't grow again. Coronation Gold, tall and floriferous but the flower heads invariably get spoiled by some sort of dark rot, won't grow it either and am giving up on yellow achilleas. Red Beauty, could be a little taller, otherwise very good, will keep.

Ageratum Weisser Schnitt, in hoophouse, flowered well but stems too thin and flimsy. Nights are too cold to grow it outside here, so I'm giving up on ageratum.

Amaranths: Red Cathedral was way inferior to Opopeo, won't bother with again. Too short, flower heads small, color rather muddy. Giant Copperhead were all more brown than copper, about half were plain brown with no copper tint whatsoever, won't grow again - I just don't like brown.

Campanula medium Champion: slow to germinate, then I didn't get around to transplanting until too rootbound, bloomed too short. Might try again, might not.

Celosia, Cramer's Crested Rose, got 1-2 1-3" flowers per plant in hoophouse. That's the best performance I've gotten from any celosia, indoors or out. Bloomed late, dried them along with lots of statice for my own winter bouquets. Might grow a few again just for that.

Dahlias, Karma: Serena (pure white) was one of the fastest-to produce of all my dahlias, with Corona (yellow with pink shading) close behind. Flowers were smaller than I'd expected and stems shorter, but they were still useful. Got maybe four or five flowers from each of them. I'd grow them again if I lived in a longer-season, warm-nights climate, and if I weren't giving up on dahlias altogether due to the climate. Karma Naomi was too slow - got no flowers.

Delphinium: Clear Springs Pink/Rose shades, incredibly horrible germination, only got three plants, all with muddy grayish-pink flowers, won't grow again. Clear Springs Mid-Blue shades, germination poor, still managed to get about 30 plants. Grew well in 4" pots, I didn't get around to transplanting until very late (a few tried to bloom in the 4" pots), will try it again next year.

Dianthus Sweet mix: a little earlier than the Amazons, much smaller flower heads than the Amazons, a little smaller even than the biennial types, but tall enough, a good color mix, a little fragrant, will grow again. I especially like the salmon color. Don't know if it's sold separately.

Digitalis: Camelot lavender, pretty darned tough, did indeed flower toward the end of its first season despite being planted out way late. Flowers attractive enough but spaced very far apart on stem, too sparse even though grown in mostly full sun, won't grow again. Excelsior mix, almost all the same greenish-ivory-pinkish-lavendar, not very pretty, not very tall, and I wanted a mix! Won't grow again, mostly for height reason.

Lily Triumphator, OT: This was its second summer, after the first overwintering. The first summer after spring planting, produced magnificent, huge flowers in goodly amounts, between the Asiatic and Oriental blooms times. But now I know it doesn't like the winter here much (about half survived it) and is the most disease-, rot-, and aphid-prone lily I've ever seen, at least in this climate. The few that bloomed still opened between the Asiatics and the Orientals. Not sure I'd want to spend the money again on something that might only give me one good season of flowers.

Limonium Pastel Shades: I grew those last year but was disappointed that they were almost all the same lavendar. Tried again, same seed, but got a pretty good mix of pinks, lavendars, and pale blues this time, will grow again.

Lupines, Russell's mix, got as bareroots, am keeping way more than I can really use. These are great here except for being susceptible to powdery mildew in our cold, wet springs and autumn. With faithful spraying in the early weeks of spring, they stay clean and produce very well, all the way through the summer and into the fall here, if kept deadheaded. I have to start spraying again the the autumn if I want them to stay clean, but I don't necessarily get to it. Doesn't seem to harm the plants.

Millet, Limelight Spray: tried a few despite poor reviews from some of you folks last year, and was glad I did. Nice long stems, nice shape and color of heads (albeit NOT in sprays, just single), produced heads much earlier than most grasslike plants here. I guess it like the climate! Will grow a few again - probably couldn't use many.

Rudbeckia Goldilocks, definitely more orange than others, a little short in its first year but that's normal here for all rudbeckia. Would grow again if for sale; for just myself, not sure I want the color.

Scabiosa, "Ace of Spades" (I think that's its name), annual, dark burgundy-black. Gorgeous in the bed, kind of a pain to cut, as most open flowers have much smaller, not-open buds above them, a lot like Centaurea cyanus. I found I didn't use it much for that reason - takes too much time to trim off buds. Supposedly doesn't need support, but the plants at the outside edges of the bed mostly flopped over and grew sideways. I think I will grow it in my house garden as a bedding plant, but not for cutting.

Snapdragon Madam Butterfly: too few flowers, too slow for this climate, won't grow again. Rocket White, ditto, although all the other Rocket colors are pretty good here. Costas are great, a couple of weeks ahead of the Rockets. Speed matters more than anything else when growing snaps here.

Sunflowers: ProCut Peach: YES!!! Earliest of the Pro-Cuts

and branches, so multiple cuttings can be made. Bashful: this flower is just too cute not to grow, and fairly early, with delicate pale yellow and pale pink shading. Indian Blanket: very similar to Strawberry Blonde, although a little earlier. Summer Sunset, also similar to Strawberry Blonde but had a higher proportion of solid purplish reds. I'll grow a few of all three again (Indian Blanket, Strawberry Blonde, Summer Sunset). Mini-Suns: Absolutely! Pretty shape and color, not very big but very fast indoors or out, it and Premier Light Yellow are the only suflowers fast and nice enough to be allowed any hoophouse space at all next year. Florenza and Floristan, both too small and too slow. Dwarf Pastel Mix: not pastels, too slow. Lemon Eclair: considerably slower than the other Starburst/Aura group, too slow for me. Apricot Twist: these flowers are TINY - won't grow again. Tiger's Eye Mix: gorgeous, with huge, branching, tree-like plants, too slow for me but would love to grow again if I didn't have such a short, cold season to contend with.

Zinnias, Benary's Giants,in hoophouse: grew and produced flowers, not enough to be worth the precious bed space in there. Were hopeless outdoors here due to our cold nights (all of our night temps are below 50 degrees). Will not try again anywhere here, anytime, anyhow. I think I gave most of the seed to LizaLily. I sure hope so, anyhow.

Anybody who read all the way down to here is to be commended for thier patience.

It's your turn now!


Comments (25)

  • bryan_ut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Jeanne, thanks for the info on the moonwalker and clear springs. Now I have to rethink some seed orders.

    Sorry I tried nothing new this year, just more of the same.


    Now off to vote!!

  • neil_allen
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, we'd never grown cotton before, and although southerners would probably scoff at the results, I suspect we raised the finest crop in Berrien County, Michigan, even if it was only a handful of plants.

    We are weekend dried-flower farmers and harvested some immature bolls and dried them on screens when we thought frost was likely during the week; we later pulled up whole plants and have them hanging upside down in the loft of the barn. Some of the bolls on those plants opened up.

    We'll try some bolls, most likely the immature ones, as accents in wreaths. We may also try selling the whole dried plants. At Chicago farmer's markets, you find transplanted southerners and people who just generally go for out-of-the-ordinary stuff.

    They're something of a pain to grow up here because they have to be started inside and allowed to grow to a good size before they're planted out. Then you pray for really late frosts. The flowers are marvelous to look at on the plant, but seem to be open for less than a full day, hopeless as cuts.

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  • Patty_WI
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I grew alot of new-to-me flowers this year. It being my 1st real try growing for market. Here goes.
    starburst lemon aura- a little too pale and quilly(is that a word?) Is there a plain aura not a star burst that I should try?
    Bashful- Very cute and early short, but I really liked the colors for early season work.
    Dbl quick orange- loved this one (thanks Jeanne for recomending this one!) Used the large ones for straight bunches and the smaller ones in bouquets.
    Orange and bicolor procuts- worked the best in our unusually hot summer here. The peach and lemon were magnets for the bugs and were bruised very easily. I will try flowerfarmer's way and use these only as a start to the season.
    Sunbright supreme- very nice sun, will use these as the bulk of mid-late sun season.
    Sunbeam- verylarge head. My kids hated to harvest these. They could only cary a bunch of 5 to the buckets(I took flowerfarmers idea and stripped the leaves first, cut, then rubberbanded a group of 5 together, the heads were then secured with a pipe cleaner. minimized damage to the heads and allowed for more stems in a bucket). Also the petals were speradic. Maybe 1 in 20 had a nice full head of petals. the rest had just a large disc. I will try again this year with what is left in the pkg.
    Mulon rouge- my favorite sunflower even though it is easier to shatter than the rest. One of the few I'll cut just for myself. I will grow these every year.
    Infared- a little later than moulon rouge and some of them are the same choclate brown. others have a reddish tinge or are a bit bi-colored. I will be growing these also. The florists really liked these. As did the market customers.
    Teddy bear- the name sold some of these, bur a nice addition to bouquets.
    Verbena bonariensis- loved the violet shimmer this added to bouquets. I sold some in straight bunches too.
    Dianthus neon duo-great flower. will be adding more this year and will try to succ plant a bit more. Had 2 plantings and could have used 3. also, will plant closer together. tried 12x12" and 9x9" will try 6x6 next year. Zinnias Benary giant mix -nice large heads people loved them. I have some mix left and will plant that for the first planting(alot of pink and purple). saved seeds of the more fall colors to use as a later planting.
    Carasol mix- were some nice colors. The zin that the catalogs are marketing (Zowie!) is one in the mix. smaller heads, but useful.
    Rudbeckia- Irish eyes nice color and stems. will plant more and am going to try prarie sun to see if ther is a difference
    is it hirta the one with the brown center (and button) and yellow outer petals? I saved seed from this one and will use it again.
    Cerinthe major- I used it in my bouquets as a filler and will use it again next year. one florist said it was a bit limp.
    Amaranth -hot bisquits will definatly grow this one again. was great in late summer-fall bouquets. One florist ordered some almost every week form when it was ready to when it was gone.
    hyssop-loved working with it! the smell was great and it lasts and lasts. The blue spikes added to the mixed flowers.
    Ammi visnaga- green mist and angel it was a bit stiff for my taste. will try ammi majus to see the difference.(the visnaga has self seeded in a couple places so I will use it again next year).
    Celosia- Wheat mix- nice colors and form. will grow again and succ plant.
    Century cream. Nice large plume. Short stem, but was a great filler. I'm ordering the mix for next year.
    Gomphrena-qis purple. Nice plant. they just kept coming and coming. Definatly was the "little something" that made many a bouquet
    Butterfly weed- I had yellow and yellow/red. I can't remember the name. will plant more. Some for bouquets some for the butterflies.
    Basil- I liked cinnamon basil for bouquet work. it got2 ft tall and had a nice dark purple flower that went well with the fall color zins.
    Sage, rosemary, fennel, dill, and parsley all found there way into the mixed bouquets and were well recieved by the customers.(fragrance part of the bouquet).
    Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate Polygonum orientale) Large plant, I didn't know how to arrange with it so sold straight bunches. Went over very well.
    Peppers-I can't remember what kinds, but the small fruited ones were a nice vertical accent (take the leaves off first) to fall bouquets. I'm going to try some that have clusters at the top of each stem.
    Ruby silk grass. Beautiful. Will succ plant more next year.
    limelight ,highlander amd plain millet- were nice. just had maybe 20 plants each to try it and will grow more next
    Aster- my sample plot truned out well, and I'll try lots more next year
    I think I've written enough! There are more things I've tried but will stop for now.

  • Jeanne_in_Idaho
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Neil - now, THAT's different! Cotton, of all things! Thanks!

    Patty, thank you so much for such a nice long list. To answer your question, I think all the Starburst/Aura series are the same shape, just different colors. I really like that shape, so I've grown most of them. Panache and Lemon Aura are each just one color, so they look a lot plainer than Lemon Eclair or Blaze or the other one I've grown (can't remember the name). You might like the shape better in bicolors. The darker colors tend to be at the tip of the quills, so you get a much more 3-dimensional, full effect. They all branch, so if you can use smaller flowers with stems under 2' long, they're great. Lemon Aura branches best, Lemon Eclair and Panache somewhat, Blaze barely at all. If you really dislike the shape, period, DON'T get Tiger's Eye Mix from Seeds of Change. Those are the same shape as the Starburst/Aura series, but on HUGE, vigorous, tree-like plants. They bloom considerably later than the Auras, which is a problem here, but wouldn't be for you.

    There are lots of differences between Irish Eyes and Prairie Sun. Prairie Sun is two different shades of yellow/orange with bigger flowers and is taller and more vigorous. Once I grew Prairie Sun, I threw away my Irish Eyes seed.


  • Noni Morrison
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I had far fewer flowers then last year. Not because I didn't plant them but with the weird weather a lot didn't come up or do much. The only one I think of off hand was the Sweet Mix dianthus and I quite liked them. I missed the Jewels of opar (Thought it would return but it didn't, same with the candytufts and others. Batchlors buttons never came up! Annual Chrysanthemums were beautiful at my sister's house where she gave them plenty of room...pitiful where I crowded them in! COuldn't find my kablouna calendula seeds. I had lots of ammi in different kinds that was quite useful.
    I am really lookin forward to having my sunny field to plant annuals in next summer! My delphies and larksur got crowded by the ammi's. THank goodness for dahlias and perennials!

  • Patty_WI
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks for the info, I'll be trying double dandy next year. Maybe it'll be like the darker color auras? Good to hear about the Prarie Sun rudbeckia, maybe I'll toss my Irish Eyes next year too.

    LizaLily, the Sweet mix did well? That is on my Harris order. I hope it does well for me too. Have fun planting your new sunny sight!

  • Jeanne_in_Idaho
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Patty, I don't like to sound so discouraging all the time, but here's my experience with Double Dandy. The flower is smallish (a lot bigger than Jade, though!), and the color is a LOT closer to brown than red. Also, it doesn't have color on the tips the way the Auras do, the brown color is just sort of mixed in with off-white in no consistent pattern. I grew it for several years and then decided it wasn't worth the effort. Like Teddy Bear, it's very short, so you end up cutting the entire plant for one flower. With Tedddy Bear, the flower is worth it. With Double Dandy, I concluded that it wasn't. Perhaps you will like it more than I did, perhaps you will get better color and performance, who knows? I think it would be much better as a potted patio plant than as a cut.

    I liked the Sweet dianthus too, especially the scent. Just for myself, I'll probably grow a few of it and a few of Amazon Neons.



  • Patty_WI
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I already ordered the seed. So I think I'll try it and see. My taste in flowers not necessarily the same as the mainstream. Maybe I'll like it(but, I think I'll make the first planting a small one just to see).

    I wrote up a HUGE list of flowers to try and had to hack away at it. This one made the list. I don't have the space to grow them all or the money to spend on all the different varieties.

    I keep getting more catalogs in the mail too and I can't NOT look. So, i look and think I want that and that and that and that......

    The nice thing about this forum is you all help point me in the right direction.

    I learned alot, though, in this first full year.

  • susiq
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I managed to kill just about everything I planted.... LOL!


    A few tiny (really!--as in plant/bloom-size/quantity) successes.

    Cramer's Rose Celosia-- I think that's the one. Whichever of the Cramer's "pinks" is darker. The darker one is a great burgandy/cranberry color, looked different(?)/ richer(?) than no-name dark red-burgandy celosias I've seen about town. The Cramer lemon lime celosia is interesting. So far, lots of little heads on short stems. Way too short (for me, this season) for bouquet work, even fillers, but would probably be a neat color on a wreath. The lighter pink Celosia is nice too. Qualify all those statements w/ the plants were VERY short, but I didn't get them out til probably July, maybe Autust, and by that time, they were in a part of the field that didn't get as much sun. Surely w/ better locale and earlier plantings all 3 colors would get taller, stronger, and better blooms. I'll try all 3 again if I end up w/ a place for growing.

    Zowie Wowie Zinnias. I bought these late season from Ivy Garth. Expensive seeds, ($10.00 !!!! for one package, can't remeber exact size.) Thought I could use them for fall bouquets. Then w/ the drought, grasshoppers, eventual move, and general discouragement, I got mad at my garden and have ignored it for 2 weeks. NO watering, NO rain, but I did leave the row cover over the few seedlings I had left. Last night our first freeze was a possibility, so I went to the field, yanked up the few (limp--needed more water the last few weeks!) celosias, my one Karma dahlia left, and then decided, just for the heck of it, to look under the row cover.

    Wowie Zowie! I had plants and blooms! 18 or so of them! No customers for anything right now-- of course Murphy's/Catch 22. These plants have been under row cover for their whole life (8-12 weeks?), limited water, not great sun, and they BLOOMED! Til Patty mentioned small bloom size in her post, I thought my blooms might be small from their poor treatment. Which also may be the case. I think (?) they're supposed to have 2 inch blooms. Mine are about 1 inch.

    They have a neat color blend, and may work fine for fall (or any season bouquets), providing the grower gets them in the ground earlier than I did! Oh yes, my plants are little, only 12-18 inches tall, but would surely be stronger/taller w/ better care.

    I'll certainly have to cut them today, because a HARD freeze is forecast for tonight.

    Karma Dahlias. I had 2 or 3 blooms out of 150 (?) plants. Most plants died of drought--(or rot, when the distracted bad gardener tried to revive the drought stricken plants w/ TOO much water! LOL!). Had one left as of last night, it had new growth on the bottom of the stem. I yanked the poor thing out of the ground, and if I remember or get around to it, may pot it up today and see if it can be saved.

    As to their worthiness as cuts or plants to grow, I have no idea. I apparantly have bad Karma.

    ;^) (grin...) Couldn't resist!

    I had one nice early crop of sunflowers, they might have been way left-over seeds from Glockner, Sunbright Supreme?-- a variety the other vendors don't carry. Of course I lost the label, and these were the last seeds in the package. Whatever they were were beautiful, tall, and brought me a few dollars. The last cut of them was one day when I saw a friend at Walmart, she needed some flowers for a casual dinner that night, and she came right out to my field and I cut straight into her waiting hands! That was a fun day.

    If I'd spend less time internet house-hunting and more time packing this house, then it could sell quicker and then I could actually GET a new house and then know if I can be a flower grower again.

    But boy is it hard to ignore the Van Engelen & FlowerFields bulb sales right now! But..... I started digging up some of my daffs and established Dutch Iris the other day, and I have DOZENS/HUNDREDS!! I'd been blithely hoping to dig up ALL of my daffs, aliums, lilies, and Bearded Iris, repotting them, and taking them with me! Tra-la-la! I'm going to have to get some stock in a potting soil company, and invent more time!

    Oh yes, if I'd get off the net, I WOULD have more time!

    Cheers y'all!


  • kfuerst27
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When I read the above lists, I'm reminded that there are too many great flowers, too little space to plant and money! Here's some of what I tried for the first time this year:

    Dianthus Amazon Neon Duo: Amazing!
    Dianthus Bouquet Purple: Good stem length but skimpy flowers. Not sure I'll grow it again.
    Dianthus Melody Pink: Also tall and skimpy, especially when compared to Neon Duo. Not sure I'll grow it again.
    Ammi visnaga Green Mist: Nice, but really sheds its petals.
    Strawflower Victorian Blush: Nice plants and flowers, but I prefer Apricot/Peach Shades.
    Zinnia Scabious Mix: I liked the magenta flowers but not the white/cream. Will give it another year.
    Cosmos Sunset: Lovely flowers but petals shatter too easily when cut. Will grow again but not for bouquets.
    Aster Unicum Mix: Nice flowers--my best aster crop from seed so far. But I still don't grow asters well...
    Ornamental Pepper Nippon Taka: I tried this for the second time (decided to use up the seeds); didn't like it at all the first year--too late in the ground, too short stems. But this year, I loved it and will definitely order more seed. It was lovely in mixed bouquets, and some customers told me they were saving the peppers and drying them for a wreath. It was a fun addition to my bouquets.


  • Fundybayfarm
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I expanded this year, as last year was the first year of growing cuts, and I was encouraged to keep going. I am still very encouraged, and do think there is a market potential here, if I can produce the kind of flowers I want. By that, I mean tall, healthy, bug free flowers. It's a challenge for sure, especially when you're trying to be as chemical free as possible.
    Unlike my first year where I had adaquet rain, last year was a real problem for annuals, and truly made me appreciate having perennials established.I think it's essential here in this area to have a good mix. The cold wet spring held all the annuals back, then when it did warm up, there was no rain. And here I am again with no drip irrigation. It's slow going with me, but I'm still hanging in there. Some of my new plants this year were:
    Godetia- I don't know if this is the same as clarkia or not, but clarkia doesn't grow well for me, and the godetia was really pretty. A little short, but useful anyway. It reminds me of azaelia blooms, which is the way they advertise it.
    Euphorbia-snow on the mountain was a nice addition, and looked great with amazon neon, which I will always grow.
    My per. dianthus barbatus is the per. version of amazon, and was incredible. I had two fairly large sections of it, (not large as in flowerfarmer large) and it stood out in my field due to the bright colors, and got a lot of attention from passers by. If it comes the same way next year, I'll be taking bunches to florsits to try and sell because I had way more than I used.

    Rocket snaps were a big dissapointment this year, almost half the height of last years. Not very useful and had this nasty little beetle type bug that I was constantly picking off. They smell like cilantro. (really turned me off on growing that herb!)
    crapedia- too few of seed in packet, and did miserably. Won't grow again.
    Larkspur- I don't seem to be able to grow this, but can grow great delphiniums. I need to post a question about larkspur.
    amaranthus, hot biscuits- great stuff, although the flea beetles loved it too. I started out with a lot of it, but much was eaten up. But what I had left was very useful in my sun bouquets and will grow again.
    Aster- giant ray mix-spider asters, were a great addtition to bouquets, but had short stems. This may have been due to the weather, but I used them in arrangements and they drew lots of attention.
    aster- duchesse mix- good variety, but bad year for me on asters in general due to conditions.
    salvia- 2 types- marble arch rose, too short and won't do again- blue angel I liked although it doesn't last that long. But the color of blue is worth it, and the leaves have a lemony smell. It also grew tall enough, so in a good year, I'm sure it would be even better.
    Zinnias were not good, I tried Benary giants this year, I still like state fair better, but it could have been the year. I also grew envy, and won't do that again. I got ONE flower that was the way the picture looked, double and green. The rest were single rows of petals and not very green, just faded out ugly. If they were all like the one flower, I'd grow many more because it lasted over 2 weeks in the vase, and I swear it just kept getting greener by the day.
    cerinthe doesn't do well for me, I won't do again. It needs very rich soil to get any height to it.
    oriental breeze basil is a nice plant, but I find it smells really bad, so didn't use it. Same goes or cleome. Too bad that such a striking flower has to smell like road kill skunk.
    dianthus-sooty, was a real winner. It blooms fairly early and was very useful.
    white valerian I like, and it's easy to grow, I also started some of the red from seed, I'll let you know on that this year.
    I use leeks for the bloom head, nice with lilies, and this year I'll have purple sensation as well. Looking forward to that.Carthamus was a bust, stunted little bits of nothing. Sure looked good in the pictures.
    Annual scabiosa-deep maroon was very nice. Tall and great color. I also planted a few of the per. type with light lavender flowers. They have larger flowers, but shorter stems. I'll still use them. Same with a per. aster I have that I use anyway due to the nice lavender color and vase life.
    Lychnis-blushing bride- don't ask me why I planted so many of these! I did use them, but I'll never get rid of them. They sure look nice in a per. border, but the vase life isn't that great.
    Buddleja-I start some of these every year, I find them very useful in early fall, and I like them in sunflower bouquets.
    lobelia cardinalis- I actually did get these to grow and bloom from seed the first year, but they aren't the easiest plants to start. I hope they survive the winter because they are the most gorgeous color of red.
    Green wizard rudbeckia- just started-2nd year bloomer, so I'll let you know.
    Cupids dart-very nice-slow in my field, fast in the greenhouse, but didn't realize the tap root was so long, so I don't know if the move to the field was fatal or not.
    pink phytostegia-grew well and bloomed late the first year. I think these are a great addition to fall bouquets.
    I started a few varieties of campanula, and I really didn't have great success after planting out. Probably my fault, not enough water, but I'm thinking these are better to buy as plants. I want to get gromerata.
    Geum-blazing sunset-2nd year bloomer- the plants grew quite well in their 1st year.
    balloon flower- very short-maybe I got the wrong variety? Hakone blue? Or the lack of moisture, suppose to be 20", I got 6".
    pyrethrum- grows well here, and I start some every year. Early bloomer, when I don't have that much out there, and then I want to figure out how to use it as a pesticide.
    butterfly weed, I finally got some of these to start this year, so I'll let you know.
    Astilbe did surprising well from seed. I got the Grand mixture. I'm hoping they have nice blooms this coming year. I find they dry well too.
    Aster-per., "sept. ruby" Cerise color that I found very useful in the fall. They had good height in their 1st year from seed.
    Siberian wallflower- orange. Short in their first year, so we'll see.
    English wallflower.-these make good filler in the late spring.
    Ratibida-mexican hat flower-I'm not impressed. Will move them out of the greenhouse, and into my own flower beds.
    Sea lavender- these are SLOW growing, and then I found out later that they can take up to 4 years to bloom! I'm hoping sooner, but I did get good germination and have quite a few plants, so guess I'll just hang in there with them.
    Bronze fennel- didn't use as much as I thought I would, but it's very pretty in the garden. I will move it to my new herb row. I've decided to put all the herbs into one row, and get them out of my flower beds.
    Lathyrus-per. sweet pea- they are finicky to start, but I made paper pots so I didn't have to disturb any roots when planting out. They grew ok over the summer, so we'll see. I know they don't have the smell, but you don't have to start them every year, and they are nice in bouquets.
    Gaillardia-(P.) "dazzler"-one of the tall gaillardia's with 2-4" blloms and ht. of 24-30". A few did bloom the first year, and I think they're quite nice.
    Prairie sun rudbeckia-with the green centers. I'm not too impressed with this variety because the bugs loved them, and even though there were lots of flowers, I found it hard to find a perfect flower for cutting. I'll try putting some rotenone on the plants while in bud to see if that helps.
    Bergamot-panorama- 1st year- greww well, but ot many blooms yet.
    Lemon bergamot- You HAVE to grow this! It did great from seed and blomed like crazy the fisrt year. It's a tiered bloom of lavender flowers. Very pretty and very useful.
    Celosia- it was a bad year for this, too short due to not enough warmth or water-century mix. Maybe someone knows of a better variety?
    Verbena bonariensis- great stuff! Tall and good color. I found it did shatter a bit, but still owrth growing. Also lasted a LONG time in the field.
    I also tried the tall african Marigolds and was not impressed at first, but once these things got going, they were pretty incredible. Huge blooms of yellow, gold and orange which held up nicely in fall bouquets. I think it was, "gold coins"?
    I also tried the vanilla, but it didn't get as tall, however they did win me a ribbon in the exhibition!
    I also ammobium, and found these nice in sun bouquets for something a little different. I'd grow them again. Crocosmia was a big hit this year. "Lucifer". Nobody else had it, and everyone wanted to know what it was. I hope they overwinter well.
    Another per. aster I started was Azure fairy. (started last year) they were very useful in spring bouquets. Nice clusters of fairly large lavender flowers. Really nice spring addition.
    I put in lots more lilies this year, which were a bit short of course, but should be better next year. I added 400 more tulips (small potaotes to many of you) which brings me up to 1100 tulips now. I truly HATE planting those things, you have to go so deep, and I find I'm just plain pooped out by then. But once you get through it all, you're glad you did it. I guess that's about it. I'm constantly trying to build up my soil, and had a few "learning experiences" with that this year. One thing for sure, I will be plowing at least one or two new rows this spring, planting buckwheat on them and having them ready for fall planting. You should have seen me walking around in circles trying to find out where to put my tulips. I now have 11 rows, that are about 150-200 ft long. That ought to hold me for a while. Now if I only had water.

  • bryan_ut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    RE: Larkspur, plant in the fall mid September. RE: Sea Lavendar, you should get some next year, but better after 3 or 4 years. RE: Celosia, Cramer's is the way to go.

    Great list.


  • Fundybayfarm
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bryan, thanks for your comments. So, I obviously missed the fall planting of larkspur, any hope for early spring? Or what about now? (If I can find some unfrozen ground, or put in a tray, then set outside?) As for the cramers, I'll have to keep checking. I don't believe any of my catalogs that came in have it. Maybe it requires quite a bit of warmth to grow well. Sometimes we have it, sometimes we don't. I didn't realize that list got that long until I just looked at it, sorry everyone.

  • flowerfarmer
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What I enjoyed most about Cheryl's post was the pashion she showed for flowers. This was coming through loud and clear. My husband and I aren't commercial growers. We are, however, market farmers. There is a very real difference between the two. We like to think of it as the "human side" of growing cutflowers for market wherein we are the ones in control -- mostly. The marketplace does have its demands. This much we know all too well. We also like to think of our venture as cutting edge. Competition at our markets is fierce; and, we try to stay a few steps above other cutflower growers. Every year we do trial some of the new things. But, the most important thing we do is promote the artistic talent in our bouquet makers. These kids can take a very simple zinnia bouquet over the top. We are finding that for most farmer market customers, the connection with the farmer and his farm is important to them.

    Enough of my musing.

    Regarding larkspur, Cheryl, many of the growers in the Midwest, Upper Midwest, and elsewhere have been having dreadful results with larkspur for probably the last 5 years or so. We can't broadcast seed in September. This year it was 90 degrees during that month and on into October. Many of us are now growing that crop in our hoophouses. We seed our hoophouse late December. But, you can also get some terrific results using seed flats. All you have to do is seed the trays, water them in a little, put a little more growing medium on the top to absorb excess moisture, stack them, place them in a black trash bag, and put them someplace cold. You can leave them for 8 weeks. Then, you'll want to move them into a warm greenhouse. They will germinate quickly. Rudbeckia can be started the same way.

    Compared to the 2004 growing season, this was not a good year for celosia. I would probably give your celosia another try, Cheryl. Cramer's seed does produce nice plants. It is, however, pricey. There are others out there that are less costly and good producers.

    One final comment about verbena bonariensis. We think these look like little stick people!! They are beautiful growing in the field. They're a butterfly magnet. Reminds us of Walt Disney's Fantasia.

  • bryan_ut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cheryl, here is Ralph's URL. It is expensive, but after you buy it once you should never run out of seed. I collected about 1/2 pound this year. Plants are huge, great color, and produce like crazy. Also to help with warmth. Use black plastic and a mini hoop over them until mid June. I started cutting mid July (transplanted in ground end of May).

    Flowerfarmer, loved your post. When some-one asks if I am a commerical or market grower, I just tell them I am a flower lover.

    It's supposed to get in the teens today!! :) Warming on up.


  • Fundybayfarm
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks to both of you for your suggestions, Bryan and Flowerfarmer. I found in one of my catalogs some celosia seed called cramers amazone. Is that it? It was a pkt. of 100 seeds for 5.99. That's pretty pricey, so would like to know if it's what you're talking about. I did grow some nice celosia my first year, when it was a very favorable annual year. I got good height and was pleased at the amount of plumes I got. I think it was century mix, and I also bought flamingo feather which wasn't as impressive. Flower farmer, thanks for your comment on my passion for flowers, there's more of that, than knowledge at this point, but I'm getting there. I'll try your suggestion with the larkspur. Is there any chance I could just put the trays in my unheated greenhouse, and then let them come up on their own in the spring, then start providing heat? I'm still not ready with a REAL greenhouse, but hopefully early spring a bigger one is going up. Or, leave them out for the 8 wks you suggested, then just bring them inside to my sunporch? I have had miserable luck with these things, they just don't get tall for me, but I like the idea of growing them in a hoophouse. They dry beautifully.
    Thanks again,

  • Jeanne_in_Idaho
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cheryl, don't apologize for your long list, it's very helpful! The more you list, the more likely someone else will learn from your experience.

    No kind of celosia works outdoors here. Cramer's crested did the best in my heated-only-just-above-freezing hoophouse, but even then only if I started it in June, when the hoophouse stayed above 50 degrees F. at night. I've tried Cramer's Amazon, Bombay, and Hi-Z. Amazon and Bombay were too small and way too short, Hi-Z a little better, Cramer's Crested rose got the biggest and tallest, although still considerably smaller and shorter than it should have been. I hope your nights are warmer than ours.

    Flowerfarmer's suggestion for larkspur sounds good according to my experience. I've had volunteer larkspur seedlings come up in my hoophouse bed years after I stopped letting it grow there - I think I've weeded out more than I ever grew. Those seeds endured full winter outdoors here, as my hoophouse cover comes off for the winter. Putting the seedflats outside, away from any direct sun, for eight weeks, then bringing them inside with some heat to germinate should work just fine.


  • flowerfarmer
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Seeds are hardwired to germinate when conditions are favorable for them -- both light and heat. We find that the larkspur need that period of darkness. That's why we stack our trays and put them in black plastic for a period of time. And, when you take them out, you can put them in your unheated greenhouse. We have done this in an unheated hoophouse when space is at a premium in our heated greenhouse. They don't like temperatures over 50 degrees anyway. So, if you have sun during the germination period, they will be fine. Once you get these established, you will have alot of larkspur!! And, if you have ground space in your unheated hoophouse, try growing some in there. This is really where you can achieve some height in that larkspur. Daylength greater than 16 hours produces the longest stems.

    Cramer's Amazon (foliage is pretty) and Hi-Z Celosia both grow to about 48" here in our region. The Cramer's Crested is around 30" tall The colors in this celosia are just simply beautiful in a bouquet.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks everyone! I'm pretty new to growing cut flowers, and this thread has been very informative and helpful - and I read every word of the long posts, lol! Thanks!


  • Jeanne_in_Idaho
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks for mentioning the dark requirement for larkspur, Trish, I forgot about it. I always cover larkspur seeds well enough to provide darkness, and the volunteer seeds seem to do fine with just dirt, so that takes care of it. If the seeds aren't well-covered, or for convenience, the black bags are a good idea.

    I envy your celosia size and height. I love the colors also, but this mountain climate is just plain hopeless for celosia and zinnias - they are difficult even in the hoophouse. They would probably do better if I heated my hoophouse more, but I can't really afford that. Imagine heating a single-plastic-covered hoophouse to 55 or 60 degrees on 20-degree March and April nights - yikes! Eventually I get tired of beating my head on the wall and stop trying to grow the heat lovers. But I console myself with having outdoors tulips in late May and early June, with NO special treatment, and outdoors delphinium and campanulae that bloom all summer long. And I am very much looking forward to not having to worry about having enough of the right kinds of flowers to take to market. I and my boss aren't going to complain!


  • Fundybayfarm
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks very much for the advise on larkspur and the celosia. I'll try the amazone, as that's the only one I can find right now. I have also heard some people mention a variety called "cramers yardstick? Is that the crested variety? I love the way those look in bunches all by themselves! I doubt I'll get 48" out of any unless we have the type of summer as 2 years ago, very warm and good rainfall. I think larkspur would grow great in my unheated GH, and will try some this year.

  • flowerfarmer
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cramer's Yardstick is Artemisia annua - Sweet Annie. I guess the nice thing about this particular one is that it matures 30 days sooner (90 days) than the variety most often grown (120 days.) Cramer's Yardstick doesn't get as tall; but, it works fine. Most years we are harvesting Cramer's Yardstick in August; however, the volunteers are ready much, much sooner.

    Did someone complain about Cleome? The kids hated, hated, hated harvesting these. They had three complaints: the stems have prickers, the sticky sap, and, of course, the smell. But, the customers just absolutely love this flower!!

    Trish -- Trying to get the last of the plant and seed orders placed before the end of the year. I'm almost there......

  • bryan_ut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cheryl, here is the URL I forgot. Call and get the plant and seed catalog. He also has some nice plants. I think I paid $10 or $15 for Celosia. and $10 for 1oz of Safflower. I have not tried the Yardstick. I did buy some lambs ear plants. The Oregano sounds nice too.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Cramers

  • dedith
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I got 3" pots of celosia, alyssum, coleus, and iris(don't know if they are Dutch or Bearded) from a landscaper friend of mine and all are growing healthy. Here are my other plants:

    two lilacs - one died, the other growing good and healthy S facing fence

    Celosia pulled when they died but wow they are beauties so I will plant them again

    White alyssum has a nice scent which I can't describe, the purple one has none. Will someone please tell me how to propagate them. They are planted on my north facing wall.

    Iris flowered last spring hoping they will flower again next year.

    My favorite is clematis as soon as the one I planted in the fall of 2004 showed the most beautiful blooms I had ever seen. So this year I planted more and have 44 planted in my 800 or so sq. ft. of garden with a few more coming this spring.

    3 bush and 3 tree peonies - the trees all bloomed, but none of the bushes bloom at all.

    Rose of Sharon standard form on container growing good and bloomed all summer in direct sunlight.

    Tulips and daffodils all rotted last 2004 (heavy rain on clay soil) so the replacements were planted this fall so I hope to see some blooms this spring.

    I now have a raised garden because nothing seems to grow on our clay soil.

    Fraxinus Americana and Fraxinus Pennsylvanica are planted in my front lawn - mostly clay but it now has a drain system. What are my chances that they will not die as we are having lots of rain again this year?

    Any advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated especially plants good for clay soil as my north facing wall only has a 6 inch raised bed.

    This is celosia:

    This is a clematis named 'Bees Jubilee'

  • Jeanne_in_Idaho
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    dedith, alyssum usually self-sows well, especially in your climate. Don't pull up the seedlings that come up in the area, wait until they are a little bigger, then transplant to wherever you want them. I found that the white self-sowed much better than any other color. I just love them, not for cutting, but for a fragrant little honey-scented bed-filler plant. They are fairly easy to start from seed indoors. They may be easy to start from seed outdoors in your climate, assuming the seedlings don't get eaten by snails, slugs, earwigs, cutworms, or any other crawling critter. If you don't get any self-sown seedlings in the area, it's possible that the crawling critters are eating them as soon as they appear.

    How long have your herbaceous (bush) peonies been in the ground? They often don't bloom for a year or two after planting. Also, your climate may be too warm for herbaceous peonies, so they may not perform at all. The only way to know is to wait. There are things you can do to encourage them. I think the depth they are planted and throwing ice on them a few times in the winter were the tricks, but I don't remember the details. The good news is that tree peonies should thrive in your climate.

    44 clematis in an 800 square foot garden is a LOT. Unless most of them are small, dwarf types, you might end up fighting quite a jungle in a few years. However, of all the problems a gardener can have, that's not such a bad one. Best of luck to you and your garden!


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