Direct sowing – a seeding method in which seeds are sown directly into prepared soil – will be familiar to vegetable gardeners. Leaf lettuce, carrots, beets, peas and beans are all sown right into prepared garden plots. There they grow on until picking time. Some maintenance required, of course.
Among annual flowers, there are many varieties that are happy – and even prefer – to be sown directly into warm, weed-free soil, provided the risk of frost has passed. Some plants, like poppies or morning glories, don't like to be disturbed once they have germinated; they grow best if seeded directly into the bed where they will grow through the season.
It sounds simple, doesn't it? And it is! Although it's best to refer to the specific sowing directions on the seed packet. For instance, some seeds require light to germinate. In this case, gently press seeds into the soil to ensure they make contact and will not wash away.
Water gently and mark the spot – it's easy to forget what beauties you have planted. Be sure to keep the soil moist until the seed germinates. Tender seedlings have little root support and can dry out very quickly.
Here is a small collection of flowers that sing to me. They promise to grow well in any sunny garden.
Now turn your head for cosmos.
'Antiquity' starts out dark in colour and gradually softens in tone. Cosmos bloom early and continue to produce flowers into September. They self-seed quite readily too. Take a minute to admire other cosmos cultivars.
For delicate fragrance, you can't beat easy-to-grow nasturtiums.
There are two types of nasturiums: Tropaeolum majus is a trailing type that can be trained to climb. Tropaeolum minus is a bush type with a mounding habit. Nasturtiums flower best in full sun, but still grow well in partly shaded locations. They love cool, damp, well-drained soil that is not too rich. If grown in rich compost or soil amended with manure, they will tend to produce lots of leaves and fewer blooms.
New cultivars such as 'Peach Melba' are subtle in tone, but if you want more colour, consider deep red 'Empress of India' which is a semi-bush type or the dwarf 'Alaska Mix' with its variegated leaves.
Think sunflowers are just for kids?
Other sunflower varieties for cutting include 'Strawberry Blonde' with its unusual burgundy petals with light tips, and the tawny-coloured 'Procut Bicolor'. Double-flowered forms have fluffy disk flowers in their centres, rather than a dark smooth disk. Double varieties such as 'Teddy Bear' and the extra tall 'Giant Sungold' do produce pollen and seeds.
Wondering about height? Have a look at this handy height comparison chart.
Ah, and then there are poppies ... Papaver somniferum.
Who could resist the rich shade of purple in 'Lauren's Grape'? These 60-90 cm sweeties are definitely going into my garden. Which flowers are singing to you?
"Sow a seed and the earth will yield you a flower." - Khalil Gibran
Seed packet Botanical Interests
Nigella damascena 'Mulberry Rose' (Love-in-a-Mist) Diana's mooie moestuin
Cosmos bipinnatus 'Antiquity' (Garden Cosmos or Mexican Aster) Swallowtail Garden Seeds
Tropaeolum minus 'Peach Melba' (Nasturtium) Kerneliv, DK
Helianthus annuus 'Peach Passion'' (Sunflower) Johnny's Selected Seeds
Papaver somniferum 'Lauren's Grape' (Opium poppy) Crocus, UK