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Autumn Introductions

This blog describes some of the different annual plants that can be sown during the early autumn months for flowering next year. Of course, with the territory of autumnal planting comes the hardiness to withstand the environmental conditions that implies, and what you’ll end up with are much sturdier plants next year.

 However, it is incumbent upon me to once again impress upon would-be planters that the threat of frost damage, particularly to the root structures of flowering plants, is ever present from September right through to mid-April and even May, and for this reason, no matter how hardy the plant professes to be, it is essential that you ensure all pots and growth sites are well drained to minimise the risk of frost damage.

Floral & Hardy’s Top Ten Hardy Annuals to sow now:

image of Agrostemma githago

Agrostemma githago

Commonly referred to as the ‘Corncockle’, this tall flower will produce bright, single, magenta coloured flowers throughout the summer with a spreading habit.

image of Calendula officinalis

Calendula officinalis

The ‘English Marigold’ comes under many names and guises, but for our purposes I’ve selected the aptly named ‘Orange King’ that produces bushels of bulbous, globular flowers whose bright orange petals match their stamen.

image of Centaurea cyanus

Centaurea cyanus

Annual ‘Cornflowers’, and my selection, ‘Polka Dot Mix’ are upright and colourful in the extreme, with frilly flowers which are good for cutting, in white, pink, blue or purple and everything in between.

image of Eschscholzia californica

Eschscholzia californica

This, the ‘Sun Shades’ variety of the ‘Californian Poppy’ is a bushy, late-flowering annual, whose bright orange hues are wonderfully offset by its bluish foliage.

image of Godetia amoena

Godetia amoena

The ‘Fruit Punch’ variety of Godetia is a beautiful display of the red and white colour spectrum, and everything in between. It will show its wonderful palette throughout the summer months.

image of Iberis umbellata

Iberis umbellata

The ‘Candytuft’ is a compact annual with spreading habit that will bear linear, emerald leaves and, in the case of ‘Fairy’ mix, clusters of pink, white, lavender and carmine flowers from late spring.

image of Linaria maroccana

Linaria maroccana

‘Toadflax’ is a compact, bushy plant with an upright growth habit and small, snap-dragon-like flowers through the summer months. The variety ‘Fairy Bouquet’ bears multi-coloured flowers.

image of Nemophila menziesii

Nemophila menziesii

This annual, also known as ‘Baby Blue Eyes’, will show flowers reminiscent in both colour and structure of your grandmother’s china saucers – pale blue accentuated by a cream centre – lovely.

image of Nigella damascena

Nigella damascena

Continuing with the blue section we have the markedly deeper and more mysterious ‘Midnight Blue’ variety of ‘Love-in-a-Mist’, whose titular flowers and black seed pods, combined with its slender shape, make for an alluring flower indeed.

image of Scabiosa atropurpurea

Scabiosa atropurpurea

Finally we have the ‘Pincushion Flower’, whose name is derived from the clumped formation of many tiny flowers. The ‘Dwarf Mixed’ variety bears flowers in many colours that are sweetly fragrant, and the butterflies love them!

By Josh Ellison

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