I love to spotlight local under-the-radar nurseries in central Maryland. These hard working nurseries fill a niche that larger nurseries and big box stores can’t begin to fill. And one specialty greenhouse is right under my nose only a few miles away and I really just took it for granted – Susan Iglehart’s Flowers or Susan’s Annuals on Butler Rd in Reisterstown, Maryland.
In the dead of winter, I always receive a brightly colored order form that lists Susan Iglehart’s offerings and the list begins with Intriguing & Unusual Annuals for Passionate Gardeners! Yes, its freezing outside, but its time to think of what to order from Susan’s and envision what my flower garden will look like.
Many of the annuals are well filled six-packs which I find are the most economical, but fast disappearing in many other nurseries. Too many nurseries want to get top dollar for their 4″or 6″ pots of annuals with a single plant, rather than fool with the plant-packed six-packs. Consumers are getting more bang for the buck with six-packs and I appreciate it whenever I find some for sale.
Susan’s zinnia selection is phenomenal! Normally, I can only find common ‘Magellan’ mix at most nurseries which are a mix of the primary orange, yellow, and red colors and is a shorter variety. But Susan carries single colors which are 2-3′ high. And if you just want a lilac garden or salmon pink, you are in luck! She has you covered. Monet Mix Zinnia, which is her most popular zinnia selection, she describes as “have your own Giverny with 6 of our luscious colors”.
Heirloom tomatoes are also part of her offerings and I was intrigued to see that she grew hers in ‘barista’ plastic cups. These are very tall which tomatoes need since they have a deep root run, supports the plant, and the bonus is you can see how the roots are progressing.
If you aren’t into starting your own seeds, then the next best thing is to order Susan’s annuals. She will do all the hard work of germinating, growing and coming up with great selections, that you can only get when you personally order seeds from a variety of seed companies. With only two large hoop houses, Susan starts her seeds under grow lights in her basement and brings them out to the hoop houses once they have some size to grow on for selling to her many local devoted customers – a real home-grown business!
A few weeks before the assigned pickup date and time in the first week of May, Susan has helpers who start to gather the plants that each customer has ordered and sets them aside with name tags. Most of the plants aren’t flowering yet, like in many nurseries to entice you to impulse buy. Susan will ‘pinch’ them to instead make them full and bushy so that they will flower more profusely later on. How many times have you bought a root-bound flowering annual, and once it goes into the ground, it just seems to sit there? Susan’s annuals are timed so that they will flower once you get it in the ground and roots in, and then takes off.
And annual vines which are totally underused according to Susan (I agree!), are available like the Cypress Vine that draws hummingbirds, or the Hyacinth Bean Vine, or my favorite – the Mina lobata vine.
And if you haven’t ordered your transplants in February from Susan, don’t despair as she has an ‘extras day’. Of course she plants many seed extras to fulfill the orders that people want and she will have many extras to sell, usually soon after her pick ups are done.
I’ll be there first thing in the morning to pick up my extras. The tentative date is May 22nd. Sign up to get on her mailing list for 2022 and see future updates at Susansannuals.com.
Some Unusual Susan Offerings:
Angelonia ‘Wedgewood Blue’-vertical accent in containers with great color and fragrance
‘Blue Boy’ Cornflower-great cobalt-blue wildflower
‘Rubenza’ Cosmos-Crimson beauty Cosmos
‘Apricot Lemonade’ Cosmos-new one this year, and sounds amazing
Salvia ‘Sizzler Salmon’-salmon coral salvia
Emilia javanica Tassel Flower-scarlet floater flower that moves with the breeze
‘Lemon Delight’ Melampodium-mounds of tiny yellow flowers make a show
Zinnia angustifolia ‘Star White’-clouds of daisy-like cascading flowers
‘Lemon Gem’ Marigold-masses of sweet citrus smelling yellow flowers
Nicotiana ‘Perfume Lime’-chartreuse nodding, star shaped blossoms
‘Blue Horizon’ Ageratum-tall blue floss flower with a long vase life
Browallia in white and blue-blooms profusely in the shade!
Basil Minette-tiny globe-shaped basil
Hyacinth Bean Vine ‘Ruby Moon’-Great foliage, flower, and incredible purple pod
Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’-Hot pink puff of a flower
Lisianthus-Lovel pastel tulip-like flower
Marigold ‘Strawberry Blonde’-color goes from yellow-to-pink-to-plum
Carbon Tomato-Purple black tomato
Zinnias- too many varieties and colors to name
As one satisfied customer said, “Susan’s Annuals are grown with love and skill, they have great roots and bountiful shoots! The unusual selections will inspire first time buyers to come back for more, and more …and more”.