I spent a lot of time over the weekend finalizing my seed and plant orders for spring planting. Though “finalizing” may not be the right word, as I always end up making follow-up orders for every season.
This list would be much longer, but I already ordered lots of stuff that I planted last fall.
From Brent and Becky’s I ordered 25 Caladiums – the white and green ‘Candidum Sr.’ and the more colorful ‘Celebration’. I discovered last year that starting Caladium bulbs inside is much cheaper than buying them at the garden center.
Another thing I learned last year: do not wait too long to bring your Caladium bulbs inside, or all you’ll get are lumps of Caladium mush. Which is why I needed new bulbs to start again this year.
From Prairie Nursery I ordered some Wild Lupine, which I already wrote about in this post. Oh, and I thought of a good place for the Wild Lupine: in front of the ‘Cassie’ Rose, in a spot that’s currently full of sand and gravel from the construction for our new driveway.
There aren’t any Liatris in our garden, so I ordered some Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis) plants, which are supposed to be outstanding for attracting Monarch Butterflies and also Goldfinches.
From Johnny’s Selected Seeds I ordered seeds of my favorite annual, Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). I noticed that there are a couple of shorter Tithonia varieties available, but why bother with this plant unless you are willing to embrace the full Tithonia experience (plants 6 or 7 feet tall)? Actually, it was the threat of summers without Tithonia that finally motivated me to begin seed starting.
Marigolds are admirable in flowering containers, cheerful and indestructible. Usually I grow varieties from the ‘Disco’ series, but this year I’m going with ‘Tangerine Gem’, a variety of Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia).
I’ll also try some seeds of this ‘Queen Sophia’ variety (T. patula).
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) seeds were also on the list, though these can be bought cheaply as plants by the flat. I want to use the seeds to underplant the Tulips growing in the Driveway Border.
From Burpee we ordered more of our favorite annual sunflower, ‘Italian White’. I noticed there are some other beautiful white or near-white Sunflower varieties, but most of them have no pollen. This may sound strange, but I actually prefer flowers with pollen.
The ‘Porcelain Blue’ Corydalis (Corydalis flexuosa) in the Burpee’s catalog was irresistible. We have wanted this plant since seeing it at a private garden years ago during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Toronto.
From Park Seed we’ve ordered several Zinnia varieties, including ‘Yellow Flame’ …
‘Sunburst’, and the dwarf Zinnia Profusion ‘Fire’.
One lesson I took from last year’s seed starting is to be careful not to plant too early. Last year I had lots of plants outgrowing their pots before either I or the weather was ready to transfer them outside.
Have you ordered your plants and seeds yet for spring planting? Trying anything new?
I am trying a new pimento pepper called “Ashe County”. Seeds are from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
No planting for me this year. I’m going to do a bit in containers, but I need to dally and see how much sun I’m actually going to get. I’ve been here for almost three months now, and the sun’s moved far enough north that I’m getting a little sun on my patio early in the morning. By the equinox, I’ll know how things are going to be for the next six months (more or less) and I’ll probably just buy a few native plants. I’ve done a good job of enticing birds; now I’ll see how I can do with bees and butterflies and such.
Sounds like this year should be for experimentation.
Wow, overwhelming for someone like me, but incredible and wonderful!! Lucky bees and birds …. and neighbors!☺️
The happier the bees and birds are, the luckier I feel.
Great list here. You’re going to love that signet marigold. I swear it smells citrusy. And I learned the same lesson about saving caladiums.
Looking forward to growing the marigold, and maybe adding some to salads.
Nice picks there! I’m growing the Italian white from seed and we love our Porcelain Blue corydalis — though I cheated and planted young plants last year, My spots beneath lights are filled to capacity…
I ordered the Blue Corydalis as plants, so I’m cheating as much as you are.
What a great selection of plants. I liked the first photo, the Caladiums are lovely, and the pretty white New Guinea Impatiens …I’m surprised that you can grow New Guinea Impatiens, don’t they need a hot climate? I grew Impatiens when we lived in Sydney, but could never get them to survive our frost here….even when protected.
I can only grow the NG Impatiens as annuals – have to buy new ones every year.
Wow, your garden is going to be so full of lovely flowers, you will have all the bees and butterflies flocking to it! Me, I’ll just sprinkle a few hardy seeds on a few flower beds and wait see what comes up!
That’s a good approach as well. With your milder climate you have a lot more seeds you can direct sow.
‘Italian White’ was the only white sunflower I ever wanted to grow . . . but didn’t. (I ordered the seed to my colleagues address, but he didn’t share.) You know, as much as I like white, it is a stretch for me to try it with sunflowers again (for the first time). They just seem like they should be sunflower colors. If I do, it with be ‘Italian White’, just for closure.
You should broaden your perspective! Sunflowers don’t have to be yellow. Also ‘Italian White’ is more of a cream or pastel yellow than white.
I am not at all good about trying new things. The sunflowers I grew in town were a nice mix of all sorts of sunflower colors that did not get much more than six feet tall, but I only grew them because the neighbor told me to. They worked out very nicely, and were certainly prettier for that particular application than the more familiar larger and solitary sunflowers that I would have grown.
I remembered your posts about Tithonia from previous years, Jason, so I’m trying it this year for the “full experience”. This will be the first year in a while that I’m starting so many things from seed, it makes me feel more connected to the life process of the garden. I’m trying winter sowing this year after seeing some YouTube videos – I already have a dozen repurposed plastic jugs outside planted with perennial and hardy annual seeds like columbine, heuchera, snapdragons, etc. It should be an interesting experiment.
I’ve never done winter sowing – I should really give it a try.
Well, isn’t that ‘sunburst’ zinnia the prettiest little thing! It’ll be interesting to see if the blue corydalis is as enthusiastic as your yellow. Will they be planted together or kept totally separate? I’m trying a couple new (to me) zinnia varieties, ‘Persian carpet’ and ‘peppermint stick’ in mixed colors. And for the veggie beds I’m trying ‘wasabi arugula’, ‘purple moon kale’, and ‘dragon tongue’ mizuna as newbies. And I’m ready to dig in the dirt, tired of this faux winter we’ve had! How ’bout you?
Definitely ready to dig in the dirt! Except that we’re supposed to get snow again tomorrow! I was tempted by ‘Persian Carpet’ when I saw it in the catalogs.
Caladium mush, eh? I’ll remember that! I love the partnering of the caladium with the white impatiens. Marigolds and zinnias are the ultimate summer flowers for me, and the rabbits devoured them last year. Summer just was not the same. Looks as though your summer is going to be brilliantly colored.
The rabbits have never eaten my marigolds or zinnias – they are little floppy-eared demons. I always like to have lots of brilliant color.
I have my Mexican Sunflower seeds at home ready to go as soon as I get back. Have you ever brought Caladium bulbs inside in the fall successfully and been able to replant in the spring?
Never have, partly because I repeatedly wait to long to bring them in.
It is nice to hear what you are planning for the new gardening season. 😃 I will also grow Tithonia from seed again – have never seen them as plants nor in anyone else‘s gardens here! I will grow Cosmos from seed too, along with lots of different sunflowers, Cleome and Gaura. My plant list is so long as I am currently digging a new bed – I will write about that in spring. 😉 Good luck with the lupines.
The Tithonia is fairly easy to start from seed. Now that you mention Cosmos and Cleome, I remember that I want some! Fortunately both are hardy annuals here.
I can’t wait to see the results. Good luck on the weather.
Thanks! Can’t wait for the results either.
Caladiums are true tropical plants. They HATE cold weather. Your selections all sound great to me. I do like that blue Corydalis. I would like that too. I bought quite a few seeds this year since I had such good luck last year with them. I will be direct planting them though. I don’t really have a place for setting up a growing station so I will wait for the proper time to seed out. Good luck with all your seeds.
You’re right about the Caladiums. If you plant them too early they will just rot in the cold ground.
I’ve got concerns about seed growing space, but I might just head over to buy some more annuals with the plan of starting them in the greenhouse. Thanks for the inspiration!
How terrific to have a greenhouse!
Lovely choices, I do like those blues and oranges. I am flipping through catalogs too, there are far too many choices!xxx xxx
So many plants, too little space!
I can’t wait to see the garden. All of them seem like excellent choices to me.
I like the marigolds. I haven’t seen them before.
I’ve seen them but not grown them.
First time commenter, but I’ve been lurking on your site for quite awhile. Love how lush your gardens are, quite different from my arid Colorado garden. Thank you for your posts on the Denver Garden Fling, they have given me a lot of inspiration this winter. Maybe someday I can attend a Fling.
I too am planting Liatris this year. I planted several about 10 years ago, but they all died. I’ve already purchased three “Kobold” from Bluestone Perennials (they’re having sales on specific plants every Friday. Liatris was on sale Feb 7th). I know there are Liatris that are better adapted to my high plains zone 5 garden, but I like the look of “Kobold” the best. Maybe I’ll have better luck this year!
Look forward to seeing how yours turn out.
Hi John, thanks for commenting! This year’s Fling is in Madison, WI – don’t know if that might work for you. I have tried to grow ‘Kobold’ but it didn’t like my garden. Hoping I do better with the L. ligulistylis.
I am the queen of mushy Caladiums… every damn time! I love them so much, though – they are great plants! I adore little Tagetes tenuifolia – they are so cute and smell SO GOOD! Can’t grown either them or Liatris, but maybe – if I ever move to a garden with more sun – I can amend that. Liatris are such wonderful plants – I had no idea Monarchs liked them. Storing that one away in the memory bank, so thank you for that. New things I’m trying is a real oddball iris relative I found at a nursery today – Ferraria crispa, or Starfish Iris. Time will tell whether I can find a spot with enough sun for it to do its thing. 🙂
I’m glad that I’m not the only one who messes up with the Caladiums. Looking forward to trying out the new Marigold varieties.
Oh, this is getting me very excited for the growing season ahead! The only things I’m growing from seed this year are Zinnias, Tithonias, and Sunflowers. Oh, and I’ll start some lettuce in spring and some Hyacinth Bean vine in summer. I love Caladiums and I usually grow some in pots–I never thought to buy the bulbs or try to overwinter them…note to self. Spring can’t come fast enough now!
Yes, but we’re getting more snow tomorrow – which probably means you will as well.
I have tried doing the winter sowing again this year, though with our warmer than usual temperatures, I am not sure that the seeds needing a cold period really received it.
Your garden will be teeming with gorgeous plants, just love it!
Thanks – that’s what I’m hoping!
Tithonia rotundifolia Torch, what an incredible plant, my summer garden is never quite the same when I forget to order the seeds. Such a fantastic colour, with its velvet like stem. I have ordered my seeds. I planted the young plants and then grew it in on the ground last year, (rather than as in previous years when it was in smaller containers,) and it did reach 6ft.
For some reason I have never seen it being sold in the UK as young plants in garden centres.
There was only one place in here in Chicago that sold it as plants, but tragically it went out of business. That’s why I started growing it from seed. And I agree that the color is fantastic.
Plants available soon!
Please let me know what you think of my website so far, really isn’t completely done 🙏
I can’t wait to see how these all do for you this year, especially the lupine. Sounds like the perfect spot.
Had to chuckle about the caladium bulbs. Was the beautiful picture you shared of them from your own garden? Lovely. I’ll have to consider that in my garden! When my family lived in Venezuela those things got huge, and grew everywhere.
Yes, those were from our garden. Life in Venezuela sounds very exotic. Before the recent troubles, I assume.
Back in the 80’s. I’m shocked at how things have fallen apart there. It is troubling, because back then it was a very civilized, cosmopolitan place.
What lovely choices! I have tried Tithonia rotundifolia for two consecutive years now and they struggle here although they are supposed to be pretty tough. This year I have sown seeds of Tithonia diversifolia which I saw in a garden in Spain. I hope it might survive our dry summers better. Amelia
Hmm. In my experience Tithonia can cope with anything except too much shade. But there may have been some other challenge in your garden. I hipe the T. diversifolia works for you.