Hollyhocks, Delphiniums & Foxgloves, Oh My!
In a garden full of mounding annuals and perennials, the occasional tall spike or spire of colorful flowers is a delightful surprise. Some of our favorite classic plants serve this purpose perfectly, all while charming us into thoughts of our grandmother's garden, filled with exuberant blooms, buzzing bees, and darting bunnies.
Hollyhocks, Delphiniums and Foxgloves are timeless crowd-pleasers. They stand up and stand out, adding height and vertical oomph to beds and borders. Whether you use them as a backdrop or plop them into the middle of a planting for a striking exclamation point, you'll be glad you added these heirloom favorites to your garden this year and beyond. Learn more about each below.
Alcea rosea. These stately heirlooms flaunt tall spires studded with cup-like flowers.
The Single Colorful Hollyhock Mixture includes white to pink to dark maroon varieties.
The Watchman is dramatic, with velvety, purple-black flowers with a green-ivory center.
The Chater's Double Hollyhock Mixture features classic, frilly and fully double flowers in yellow, pink, red, purple, apricot and white.
Creme de Cassis Hollyhock has single, semi-double and double flowers in a deep wine that transitions to pale lilac-pink at the edges.
Direct-sow Hollyhock seeds outdoors after the last spring frost date or start them indoors 10 weeks earlier. They may not flower the first year, yet may self-seed in future years. Give them protection from wind and stakes to support their lofty height. Bee friendly. Biennial. HZ: 3-9. Summer flowering. Height: 6' to 8'.
Delphinium elatum. Featuring old-fashioned, elegant spires of delicate flowers, these cottage garden favorites also make terrific cut flowers.
Our Connecticut Yankee Delphinium Mixture
yields satiny 2½" blossoms in shades of medium blue, purple, lavender, light blue, lilac, dark blue and white on multiple spires per bushy plant. Rarely requiring staking, they are perfect for cutting gardens, naturalized foundation plantings and the back of a mixed border. Tolerant of partial to full sunlight, they are perfect in white-picket-fence gardens that make a house a home, like those pictured in childhood books of old.
Delphiniums prefer cool weather and can be started outside as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Deer resistant. Perennial. HZ: 3-8. Summer flowering. Height: 2' to 3' .
Digitalis spp. A cottage garden favorite from yesteryear, the stately yet whimsical Foxglove adds charming old-world beauty to summer gardens. Humans, bees and beneficial insects all adore them.
•Strawberry Fayre Foxglove (D. mertonensis) is a beauty with numerous large, pale strawberry-pink, tubular flowers on strong stalks that can grow up to 5' tall.
•◦The Excelsior Foxglove Mixture (D. purpurea) yields tall, handsome spires of tubular, bell-shaped flowers in a pastel rainbow of soft red, rosy-purple, pink and cream.
•Start Foxgloves indoors, ten weeks prior to transplanting out, two weeks before the last spring frost date. They prefer rich, well-draining soil with consistent watering. Bee friendly. Deer resistant. Biennial. HZ: 4-10. Spring to summer flowering. Height: 3' to 5'.
More Cottage-Garden Favorites
Cottage gardens are what gardeners' dreams are made of. Lush, slightly wild and full of flowers, they're welcoming, colorful, and exuberant. Here are even more wonderful, old-fashioned flowers that will lend cottage garden flair to your beds and borders.
Matthiola incana, the Gilliflower. Prized for their spicy clove scent, Stock has stalks studded with small, semi-double flowers. Perfect for fragrant garden borders, Stock is also an awesome cutting flower. Annual. Height: 18".
Lavatera trimestris. A stunning, long-lasting cut-flower, Tree Mallow produces cup-shaped, satiny blooms. Cut entire stems with just two flowers in bloom: the additional buds will continue to open for up to twelve days. Annual. Height: 24" to 36".
Consolida ambigua. This cottage garden favorite has 20" spires of densely studded, star-shaped flowers. Larkspur prefers to be directly sown as soon as the ground can be worked in spring. Hardy annual. Height: 2' to 3'.
Lupinus polyphyullus. One of the most beloved early summer perennials, with large, upright, densely flowering, colorful spires of sweet pea-like flowers. Although they will not bloom the first season, they are well worth the wait. Perennial. HZ: 4-8. Height: 36" to 48".
Heliotropium arborescens. Heliotrope is a treasured heirloom with dark-leafed foliage, clusters of tiny, deep violet-blue flowers. Heliotrope is prized in old-fashioned nosegays for its heady, vanilla fragrance and lush flowers. Annual. Height: 12" to 24".
Lathyrus odoratus. These nostalgic heirlooms have the sweet fragrance of honey and oranges. Large clusters of dainty flowers are borne on vines that crave a trellis, A prized cut-flower, Sweet Peas love to be cut for increased flower production. Hardy annual. Height: 6' to 8' .
Hibiscus moscheutos. Hibiscus have extravagant blossoms that often match the size of dinner plates. A southern garden favorite, moisture-loving Hibiscus makes a lush, tropical statement with luxurious and brilliantly colored flowers. Perennial. HZ: 5-10. Height: 24" to 36".
Antirrhinum majus. Snapdragons are available in single and double forms and in a variety of colors for border plantings, containers, and cut flower gardens. A childhood must-grow: remember pinching its "jaw" to make its mouth "snap"? Annual. Height: 24" to 36".
Nicotiana sylvestris. A South American heirloom prized for its intoxicating evening fragrance, Only the Lonely is a tall, majestic plant graced with long, tubular white flowers. A long-time favorite of Victorian gardeners. Annual. Height: 48" to 60".
Bells of Ireland
Moluccella laevis. This prized 1570 heirloom produces spires of pale to emerald green, 1" funnel-shaped bells enclosing fragrant, tiny white flowers. Bells of Ireland helps us make gardens into really magical places. Its height and structure are terrific in summer bouquets. Annual. Height: 2' to 3'.
Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate
Polygonum orientale. An old fashioned, cottage garden classic, Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate is an incredible border filler. A moderate self-seeder, you'll most likely find seedlings here and there the second year. The resulting serendipitous combos will surely be wonderful. Annual. Height: 4' to 7'.
Cosmos bipinnatus. A favorite cottage garden annual from yesteryear, Cosmos is an easy-to-grow self-seeder that thrives in virtually any soil. Prized as a romantic cut flower, Cosmos's cheerful, colorful single and double flowers are bee friendly and deer resistant. Annual. Height: 2' to 5'.
Gypsophila paniculata. Old-fashioned and charming Baby's Breath is prized in summer bouquets as a delicate, airy filler with clouds of petite, white, double flowers just 1 centimeter in diameter. Perennial. HZ: 3-8. Height: 3'.
Campanula medium calycanthema. This native Pyrenee mountain heirloom has 2 to 3 stalks studded with long, bell-shaped flowers that really look like so many cups and saucers. Biennial. HZ: 3-11. Height: 2' to 3'.
Verbena bonariensis. This is an outstanding tall, structural garden variety. Each plant has many slender willowy stems topped with fragrant lavender to rose-purple flowers in tight 2" clusters. Tender perennial. HZ: 7-10. Height: 36" to 42".
Love Lies Bleeding
Amaranth caudatus. Quite the little multi-tasker, Love Lies Bleeding is a magnificent ornamental plant with fuchsia flowers on long rope-like stems. It may also be enjoyed as a salad green like Spinach. Annual. Height: 3' to 5'.
Cleome hassleriana. Spider Flowers have very broad, spider-like blooms with variably elongated pistils and stamens that create a fireworks-in-the-garden effect. Once established they are heat and drought tolerant. Annual. Height: 3' to 5'.
This old-fashioned annual is easy to grow and is a standard in summer bouquets and gardens. Its rainbow-hued blooms are incredibly cheerful. Seed directly into the garden after the last spring frost date. Annual. Height: 1' to 4'.
taken from firstname.lastname@example.org
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa