Pretty in Pink & Perfect Pollinators…..

by Kat Weatherill

Cosmos double click ‘Cranberries’ Half hardy annual

The RHS gardens don’t just offer inspiration for gardeners with acres of land and years of experience. They have ideas for even first time gardeners or those with only room for a window box. A beautiful example of a simple plant to grow from seed that will produce months of summer flowers is the humble Cosmos. I saw these gorgeous frilled Cosmos on Sunday during my visit to The RHS garden, Harlow Carr, Harrogate. They were growing in pots and looked stunning. Cosmos have lovely open flowers with feathery foliage and the bees and butterflies adore them. So even if you only grow a small pot of them, you are doing your bit for the declining population of pollinators in our country.

harlow carr RHS garden cosmos double click cranberries flower

As part of the campaign ‘British Bloggers in Support of British Flowers’ sponsored by Thompson and Morgan, I am currently growing Cosmos in my garden at home. By mid August (with the help of a little more sunshine!) I will be sharing with you another one of my home grow bouquets.

Cosmos last approximately 10 days in a vase as a cut flower. A 50cm x 50cm patch of cosmos will produce enough flowers for a vase a week from June until first frost, not bad for a £2 packet of seeds! You can sow direct after last frosts (this means just sprinkle directly on to a patch of weed free, lump free soil, and cover lightly with soil or compost,  add a little love and water!) The seeds will flower about 14 weeks after sowing – it doesn’t get much easier than that! If you have a window sill or the luxury of a green house you can sow in seed trays and pot on. You can then plant out as soon as the first frost have past. This will enable you have Cosmos flowering in mid June.

Genus: Cosmos (Varieties – many, from white, pinks to oranges, single and double flowers)
Type: Half-hardy annual
Site: Full sun
Height & Spread 90cm x 40cm
Hardiness: Half hardy
Care tips: Pinch out tips to encourage bushier plants. May need staking.
Flowers: June – November (14 weeks from sowing)
For the vase: Last 7-10 days (remove any leaves that will be below the water line)

I hope you have got your note-book out and added these super flowers to your list of plants to grow at home next year!

There are lots of other fantastic pollinators that you can grow or plant in your garden, many hardy herbaceous perennials that will come up again year after year. You can visit The RHS website for more information and download a PDF of  plants for pollinators.

I will share with you lots more ideas for plants for your garden that are Perfect Pollinators over the next few weeks. Here’s one more to get you started….

Genus: Astrantia
Type: Perennial
Soil Type: Moist soil
Site: Full sun to partial shade
Height & Spread: 90cm x 60cm
Hardiness: Fully Hardy
Care tips: They can thrive in partial shade and beside water
Flowers: June to September
Cut Flower: Yes
 

Astrantia Major