We have eleven hundred inches of snow on the ground here in Vermont and so naturally I'm thinking about this summer's flower garden. Last year I made an effort to grow even more flowers than in years past, and hardly any of them did well. The dahlias were attacked by slugs, the zinnias we started indoors from seed were pokier to grow then if I'd just tossed the seeds in the ground, and the sweet peas didn't flower. I dreamed of vases of flowers in every room and settled for child-picked wilted dandelions on the dining room table. (Which of course is charming in it's own way.)
Like all gardeners, this year I believe it will go better! I want to have an abundance of flowers so the kids can pick what they like to create bouquets for themselves, friends, and neighbors. And maybe they'll cut some for me, too? A parent can dream. Maybe we'll even try this flower arranging activity!
One thing that is really fun about planting flowers is how varied all the seeds are! From tiny poppy seeds to big round sweet peas, or the miniature broom shape of a bachelor button, seed shapes can be fun to explore with your young gardeners. One of the things that I had great luck with last year was a "Bring Home the Butterflies" flower mix . (The header picture is my little pocket garden in bloom with this mix.) But the seeds are all varied, and it can be a fun guessing game to try to guess which seeds will grow into which plants. Maybe an expert gardener can help out here (that would not be me).
This year I'm planning on a combination of starts from the garden center (lots of snapdragons, as well as coleus and cosmos) plus I'm trying 5-6 types of flowers that can be sowed before the average last frost. Here in Vermont, our growing season is short and this can help with getting flowers in bloom before it gets too cold. Oh and this year I'll just direct sow my zinnias. One thing I will start from seed under grow lights, next to my tomatoes, is this very lovely anniversary aster from our friends at Botanical Interests. These look amazing! Huge white blooms that will either be stunning alone, or mixed in with other cut flowers. Did you know that Botanical Interest will donate $1 for each packet of these asters sold to KidsGardening? We're so honored to be partnering with them, and this will truly be a stand-out addition to your garden. Although eek, will I let my kids just pick these?! Or will those be just for me? Luckily I have many months to figure that out. You can buy these online, or from your local garden retailer.