• Winter is here

Annual flowers

Annual flowers

Sow annual flowers now for a spectacular display of colour and beauty later in the summer.

Annual flowers are brilliant value as they are unfussy, and just as happy in the ground or roomy pots. They need a sunny spot but don’t mind poor soil and in fact grow better without extra fertiliser. You can sow them straight into damp soil any time from now until the end of June for cutting flowers for the house, to fill gaps in your borders, or just to fill your garden with beauty for months on end.

You’ll find a mouthwatering selection on our seed racks here at the garden centre in Oundle right now, from stately sky-blue cornflowers and vibrantly colourful rudbeckia to jolly poached egg plants and delicate love-in-a-mist. Pick your favourites, then select a spot in your garden to fill with colour all summer long.

If you’re growing your flowers for cutting, sowing them in neat rows makes it easier to get to them to snip the stems. To display in a bed, scatter them or sow in patches. If you sow in rows within the patch, you’ll find it easier to distinguish your annual flower seedlings from rogue weeds that come up in between.

Prepare the soil carefully, digging over lightly then breaking up any clods of earth. Remove weeds and large stones, and rake lightly to level the surface. Next create shallow, straight drills with the point of a trowel 25-30cm apart, depending on the type of flower (look on the back of the seed packet for the exact distance). Trickle water into the drills from a watering can so you are sowing onto damp soil.

Sow the seed sparingly along the drills and cover with a light sprinkle of soil. They should germinate in about 10 days’ time, with flowers to follow by summer.

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