Plant of the Day – Cosmos

One of the easiest plants to grow and one of the most reliable to flower and put on a great show all summer is Cosmos. I think my favourite is ‘Purity’ simply because it has such pure white flowers which highlight and accentuate the rich colours of other plants.

Equally stunning are the single and double pinks and purples which seem to come true from seed every year despite the bees hopping from colour to colour all day long.

Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberry’

This year I tried a couple of new varieties from which I will collect seed, the unusual ‘Double Click Cranberry’ and the pretty ‘Picotee’ with delightful pinky purple edges.

Cosmos ‘Picotee’

The taller varieties can get a bit ‘top heavy’ and begin to lean or even topple over in high winds but they usually survive if pushed back up and staked. The shorter varieties make colourful front of border plants. They are all very attractive to pollinating insects, flower for months if deadheaded regularly, are drought tolerant and will grow in almost any soil. What more could any gardener ask for?

Daily Jottings

Update on “New Variety” Nicotiana mutabilis…

Just had a response from Ray Brown at Plant World in Devon. My “new variety” is not particularly unusual, it happens all the time with “mutabilis”. The clue is in the name meaning “changes” Not going to get rich this time! I will continue to save the seed though; who knows, it might throw up an even bigger change next year.

On the same subject, I thought I had recently found a new variety of Lychnis coronaria too. As far as I knew, it either came in shocking cerise pink or white. However, from a packet of ‘Alba’ seeds, up popped what I now know is ‘Angel’s Blush’. Surprising, delightful and disappointing all in one go!

Snipping or Sniping?

Anyone who has been in the garden recently armed with bucket and snips will know that there is no greater pleasure than getting up close and personal with pollinating insects in the herbaceous border! What I am talking about is, of course, deadheading. I mention this because I have just spent a wonderful two hours in amongst the Cosmos, Dahlias, Knautia and Calendula which need attention every few days to keep them flowering. However, I am still reeling from a comment made by a good friend and neighbour at the weekend that “life is too short for deadheading Cosmos”. To me, deadheading is the very essence of gardening. If you sow the seed, grow them on, plant them out, water and feed them, enjoy the bounty and cut them for the vase, the least you can do is prolong their life and beauty – isn’t it?.