The Orange Daisies of Summer
Summer is coming. I know because last Saturday I planted Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). This is the moment every year when I feel that spring is starting to fade away and summer is coming over the horizon.
Mexican Sunflowers are something of a signature plant for my garden in summer and early fall.
I buy my Mexican Sunflowers as young plants from Anton’s, a nursery about a mile from my house. Anton’s is run by people who are all about the plants, and I feel lucky to have this independent business right in the neighborhood. I rely on Anton’s for annual plants because frequent travel makes it difficult for me to grow annuals from seed.
May can be a frustrating month for me. So much is happening in the garden, but it is also a very busy time at work. I’m typically out of town Monday through Friday, and garden deprivation can make me pretty grumpy.
However, a visit to Anton’s on a Saturday morning can restore the feeling that at least some things are right with the world.
Timing can be tricky when it comes to planting Mexican Sunflower. It’s a fairly tender annual that will rot in the ground if the soil is too cold. On Saturday I thought conditions were probably right for the Mexican Sunflower but not ready for the tomatoes, which will wait for another week.
In addition to the Mexican Sunflowers I also bought several Cardinal Flowers (Lobelia cardinalis). I had stopped growing these perennials because they tend to be short lived. However, I grew one in a container last year and decided it was so beautiful that I would just replace it every couple of years if I had to.
After that my CPBD (Compulsive Plant Buying Disorder) kicked in and I started grabbing plants at random. Plant nurseries can do that to me. The extent of my purchases didn’t really sink in until after I had driven home and returned to normal consciousness.
Now while I am out of town I can think about those Mexican Sunflowers tucked away in my garden, with their promise of warm summer days and orange daisies.