First Seed Order!

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.

Marigold Triploid  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.” Snap Antiquity  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. Snaptini 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.  Zinnia Zinnita  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 “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.

Aster Matsumoto  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.”  Emilia  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”?



About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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13 Responses to First Seed Order!

  1. bcparkison says:

    Fun work coming your way. Cam’t wait to see all bloom

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ordering seeds is so exciting — looking forward to seeing these flowers in your blog posts in the spring/summer!


    • carolee says:

      Buying seeds is one of the most pleasant things, except that I agonize over every decision for days…this variety or that? This color or that? This tall or the shorter one? Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to just order them all!


  3. Lots to look forward to!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen says:

    Marigolds that don’t go to seed – must be prettier too! Marigold seed heads are not the best garden look.


  5. Love all the oranges and corals you’ve put in this post. Can’t wait to see how the asters do for you as a cut flower!


  6. windsweptone says:

    Snapdragons! Now there is a flower from my youth. I had forgotten all about those. You have reminded me that I must get some nasturtium seeds, they are a favourite of mine. Thank you.


    • carolee says:

      Mine, too! Do you put them in salads? I have lots of nasturtium seeds left from ordering last year, so they aren’t on this year’s list. I often stuff the flowers, or fill the leaves with a cheese mixture & roll them like a cigar…peppery! Snapdragons don’t have much flavor, but they are certainly pretty on canapes, and just as they begin to fade, I snip them along with all the other edible flowers for confetti to sprinkle on appetizers, salads, or even desserts (not so much the nasturtiums here!) but the confetti is pretty to press on the edges of finger sandwiches lightly spread with mayo. Such fun!


  7. Well I must say that you have inspired me to “get going” with my ordering! What’s holding me back is the fact that I still have to plant my fall bulbs… I’m thankful that in Ireland I seem to have a bit more time to get them in the ground as it is still mild here at the moment. I am most intrigued by the triploid marigolds you mentioned. I haven’t seen those yet. Can’t wait to get your review! 🙂


    • carolee says:

      You are VERY lucky to live in Ireland. Every time I visit, I fall in love with the place all over again. Here, we’ve already had 10 and now even 20 degrees below freezing, so I’m very glad I pushed myself to get the bulbs planted. It’s supposed to warm up a bit in another week, so hopefully I’ll get the last of the clean-up done. I’d really like to get some mulch put on, too as soon as the ground freezes, but that may be overly optimistic. When do you begin planting again?


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