Albert Einstein 1879-1955.
In a previous article, I dealt with how to grow bedding plants from seed on your windowsill; F1 Petunia x Hybrida, commonly known as the annual bedding Petunia is one such worthy plant. Extremely popular, and rightly so, due to its ease of cultivation and its trumpet shaped flowers, in shades of red, white, pink, purple, lilac and bi-colours. Many of the purple varieties exhibit dark coloured veins down the flower petals, similar to that displayed by Geranium sanguineum. These Petunias have exploded in popularity over the past few years, with everybody recognising their vibrant colour and basket filling ability. I witness it each and every summer; garden centres put these dark veined petunias on display only to have ravenous colour hungry gardeners snap them up, within a day or so. This year you can be ahead of the posse, by growing your own.
Try Petunia F1 Reflections Mix Seeds for their unique flowers, available from Suttons seeds. This enchanting Floribunda comes in a blend of colours, where the blooms are characterised by attractive deep veining, growing to a height of 23-30cm (9-12")
Antirrhinum majus is another plant I recommend you grow from seed for fantastic summer bedding. I am sure many of you will be familiar with this well-established garden favourite, which we, here in Ireland, call the snapdragon. Just to be different, the French call the plant wolfs mouth whereas the Germans prefer to call them lion's mouth. Which common name is most accurate in its description? I don't know, all I can say, is that the plants blooms definitely resemble the mouth of a beast, whether mythical or real. Squeezing the flowers at the sides causes the dragon like jaws to open and shut, as if to say "Hey buddy get your hands off me". This animated mouth feature often attracts younger gardeners to the Antirrhinum. The blooms carried on the Antirrhinums distinctive flower spikes, come in shades of yellow, orange, red, purple, pink and white from early July until the end of October. As well as being available in a multitude of colours, this plant is also available in many heights. Use the dwarf varieties in containers and give the taller varieties (over 1½ft) a place in a bed with shelter from winds.
Antirrhinum Magic Carpet Mixed seeds, from Suttons seeds is one mix I would heartily recommend for injecting colour at the front of your beds/borders or within the rockery. These plants take on a manageable low growing habit, spreading with a fine range of colours.
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