Winter is the time to sow your Cool Season Annuals as soon as the soil can be “worked”. This term is gardening slang for soil with a texture that is neither mud nor frozen! After determining that my soil was ready by drawing a rake through it, I gathered my cool season annual seeds together with plant stakes, sharpie for marking, and my favorite multi-bladed sowing rake. On the menu for sowing was Poppies, Bells of Ireland, Love-in-the-Mist, and Calendula.
Cool Season Annuals differ from annuals that you sow after the danger of frost is past because the seeds need cold temperatures to germinate and cool temps to grow well in the garden. When hot weather hits, they are history and I pull them out to make way for annuals that relish the hot weather. Poppies are one of my all-time favorite flowers and I make sure to plant plenty. If you are into blue poppies, go to my post on Blue Poppies.
My honey bees love the poppies and go into a frenzy when they are blooming.
Growing quickly in the cool temperatures of late winter and early spring, the cool season annuals are old-fashioned flowers that you would find scattered in an English cottage garden. Best sown outdoors, these flowers are frost tolerant and grow quickly to give you a much-needed dose of color after the long winter. If you want to plant edibles like brassicas, go to pegplant who writes an excellent blog on gardening and is a fellow GWA member.
Raking the soil with my sowing rake is the only preparation needed. I broadcast sprinkle the seeds as evenly as possible, using dry hands, then tamp down the soil firmly with the rake, not adding any additional soil. Sprinkling the surface with bits of straw or leaves helps keep the soil moist and hopefully hides the seed from wandering birds. I spray a light mist of water on top to moisten the surface and wait with anticipation.
Sowing seeds with my favorite rake
Popping up quickly through the leaf litter, weeding and sprinkling with water is necessary if we hit a dry spell. Then it is time for the color show! Cutting flowers from these early blooms make great arrangements in the house.
Fore a great video on planting cool flowers, go to Cool Flowers, a great website by Lisa Ziegler.
29 Replies to “Cool Flowers-Early Spring Bloomers”
Do you purchase mail order seeds or at your nursery?
Both , I ordered clarkia and larkspur on line and purchased poppies an calendula locally
Beautiful pictures and love your post.
I love your posts and tips on what I might accomplish with plantings. You are remarkable.
Janet Hatter, Silver Fancy Garden Club
Thanks Jane for reading and commenting! I love to hear from my readers.
Love the look of dried poppy seeds.
Wonderful post, I love your gardening outlook.
Wondering if, because they peak so early in Spring, if they would get enough sun under deciduous trees that don’t create shade until later in springtime.
Yes! you could do that. By the time the leaves come on, they will be done
I’m off to order seeds!
Met you when you taught at a Federated Landscape Design course. Love your blog. Do more, please. 😁
Thanks Cynthia. Which Garden Club are you in?
The Catonsville Garden Club!
Not sure they would grow back East, but you should try some California poppies some time. Beautiful orange color!
Yes, I have tried them and haven’t been successful
Beautiful… if the seeds manage to survive the birds are there any that are not endangered by other critters such as deer or rabbits as they emerge??
I have bunnies (not deer) and they don’t seem to bother them. The dogs run off anything that sets paw in my garden
Thanks for this reminder Claire. Lovely photos and great tips. I like that seeding rake, have not seen one before.
I have not idea where to get one. I inherited it from my Dad
Beautiful color on those early season poppies!