As the 2018 growing season slides to an end here in central Indiana, (there’s SNOW forecast for tomorrow!) anticipation is already beginning for the 2019 garden! The first seed order was placed before Oct. 31 in order to qualify for a 20% discount. Most of the items are the “must-have” plants that are the staples of the flower borders each and every season: “Durango” and “Hot Pak” marigolds, “Fresh Look” celosia, “Profusion” zinnias, “Penny Orange” violas and other annuals that you’ve often seen touted here in past posts. However, each year there are a few new items that catch my eye. Here are some of the flowers that have my blood trickling just a bit faster as my mind pictures next year’s flower borders.
Most interesting are the “Triploid” Marigolds. Maybe you’ve already grown them, or at least heard about them, but they are new to me. Why are they different from ordinary marigolds? First of all they are day-neutral, so they don’t require those long sun-lit hours before they come into bloom. Second, they have 2-3″ flowers that are held above the compact foliage. Third, and best of all in my opinion, is that they do not go to seed! That means the plants do not spend massive amounts of energy producing seed, so they’ll produce more flowers instead. It also means that I won’t have to spend hours deadheading those plants in order to get more flowers, or to remove those browning seed capsules for appearance. It seems to be a win-win! Colors available are Deep Orange, Golden Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Red, Red & Gold, or Mixed. I’m excited to see how they perform, and if there is any downside.
I adore snapdragons, the stately “Liberty Bronze” that are actually gorgeous shades of orange and apricot tones are a staple both in borders and in the edible flower interior potager border. However, I especially love the “azalea” type open flowers so I’ve grown 8″ “Twinny” Peach and will again, but in addition I’m trialing a new one, “Antiquity Orange Bi-Color.” If orange isn’t your color, the “Antiquity” series is also available in yellow, red, purple and mixed. Slightly taller than the “Twinny” series at 10″, the open “bell” flowers are reportedly longer-lasting with better branching than “Twinny,” (which has been my complaint, along with floppy stems) thus also producing more flowers. For a shorter snapdragon, along edges and used in containers, the “Montego” snaps used in past seasons are being replaced by a new “Snaptini” hybrid series. These are day-neutral and hopefully more heat-tolerant than the “Montego”, and form slightly larger 7″ x 7″ mounds. The color I’ve selected is called “Sunglow,” which is reportedly a right orange, but you can find them in burgundy, red, violet, yellow, white and mixed. These have the traditional “dragon mouth” which provide entertainment as the bumbles muscle their way inside.
Zinnias are always a must-have. This year’s weather had many looking wretched, with spotted leaves and few flowers. Two new ones will be trialed: “Zinnita” is a compact 6-8″ variety with double flowers and good branching. Hopefully it will be as cute as the photo, and won’t succumb to disease as it fills various container plantings and along high-traffic edges at the sidewalk both in the Front Garden and the Deck Garden. “Zinnitas” also come in rose, scarlet, white, yellow or mixed. “Cresto Orange” is 30″ and hopefully it will be orange and not red, like the “Cupcake Deep Orange” trialed in 2017. Its bold domes, surrounded by a ring of broad petals “Like a ballerina’s tutu” is the description given, are on strong stems. These are replacing the insipid “Zinderella Peach,” which wasn’t peach and the great majority weren’t the powderpuff form at all. “Cresto Red” and “Cresto Yellow” are also available.
For the cutting garden, with a possible move to the back of the borders next year if they perform well, is Aster “Matsumoto Apricot.” At 30″ these Japanese-bred beauties are tall plants but supposedly have strong stems to remain upright. In our winds, this could be an issue, but since they are an annual and intended for cutting, it’s not a deterrent. The flowers are abundant, mid-size for asters with a yellow center. Several blogs have praised them as a cut flower, so I’m giving them a try. Heat and disease resistant, and available in a really wide range of colors: blue, blue-tipped white, crimson, light blue, pink, red striped, rose, scarlet, violet striped, white, yellow, pink tipped white as well as the apricot shown.
Making an encore performance after an absence of many, many years is Emilia “Irish Poet.” This sweet little annual is also called “tassel flower.” Tiny clusters of fluffy orange flowers atop wiry 16″ stems are perfect as filler in bouquets and add interesting, airy spots of color to containers. For years they self-seeded (not rampantly) in the gardens at the farm, but for some reason I’d forgotten about them after the sale. They’ll go in containers in sunny spots, and also here and there in the Deck Garden. A few seeds will assuredly go to my daughter’s young niece, Emilia, who has recently become a gardener.
So, these are the new items I’m trialing from the first seed catalog to arrive! I can’t wait till the mailbox is filled with others. Have you found anything that excites you for the coming season? Are you varying your color scheme at all next time? Do you try new things, or stick with the “tried and true”?