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  • Writer's pictureIngrid Smyth

Hardy Annuals

Even the most well designed planting scheme falls foul of seasonal gaps in flowering and successional planting plans sometimes just do not give the wow factor year after year that you were hoping for. The answer is hardy annual flower seeds which can be purchased cheaply and grown easily even in the smallest space. This year I have chosen the following seeds to not only fill the gaps but to also change the colour scheme of my display:

Orlaya grandiflora, Ricinus communis 'Carmencita' Cardiospermum halicacabum, Nicotiana alata, Gypsophila elegans 'Kermesina' Nigella damascena 'Miss Jekyll' & Briza maxima.

In spring I germinate the seeds indoors, transplant them into individual pots or plugs once big enough and finally grow them on in an three tiered cold frame in the garden. I do tend to get an excess of plants but part of the pleasure is passing them on or swapping them with other garden enthusiasts. When the time is right I plant them out in my garden and sit back and enjoy the new shapes and colours of my new flowers. Those that performed well will be used again next year & I don't sweat those that didn't make the grade because all it cost me was the price of a packet of seed, some compost and a bit of time watering. In the UK and Ireland I would recommend Sarah Raven and Seedaholic both of which have a wonderful range and provide supplementary advice on how to grow.

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