My mail order vegetable seeds are arranged in a basket on my desk where I can see and admire them every time I sit down at the computer. What an incredible miracle that, hidden in those small packets, there is a garden full of vegetables just waiting for a little soil and water to provide an abundance of food all summer long.
With that first stage complete, now I am ordering my flower seeds. I prefer Park Seeds for these; their customer service is first-class and the order will be here quickly. I mutter many harsh words to my computer through the year, but for placing orders there is no equal for speed and efficiency.
The first item I am ordering is a roll of green Velcro tape. This provides the best ties I have found; it is gentle on stems yet strong and invisible on plants and can be cut to any length with a knife or pruners or whatever is in my hand at the moment. At one-half inch by 75 feet, it will last for years.
Then, on to the real business at hand.
For several years, I have grown Dolcissima petunias. These come in only two colors, down from three a few years ago, when a yellow variety was available. But now there is fragolino, a deep cranberry with yellow shading and flamb, which combines pale pink, cream and pale yellow.
These are the most beautiful petunias I have ever seen with large flowers in varying shades. They do very well in hanging baskets or containers, or just sprawling across the ground. They have always flourished wherever I plant them.
I will start the seeds indoors in early March, and have them ready to plant out as soon as the weather is reliably warm in early May.
I wish I could find the seeds of Dolcissima Limoncello. Please let me know if you see them anywhere.
I like to grow my own impatiens because I need a lot of them for shady spaces under shrubs and in darker corners, This year, I have chosen lavender blue hybrids - large plants with big flowers and a nice mauvish color that goes well with the pink and blue I prefer in the front garden.
I will be using them around the new rock my friend, Roland, trundled to my house on a front-end loader last fall, and they should go well with the Russian sage in a similar color that will be behind them.
I love black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia) vine and grow it on trellises on either side of the garage door. I found a combination offer of salmon, rose and white varieties as well as the familiar yellow.
These vines grow fast once they get started, and bloom well until frost, so I want to give them an early start. With 40 seeds, I should have enough to share by plant sale time.
And finally my beloved sunflowers. This spring, I am going to dig out the ornamental ribbon grass I have used as a ground cover all down one side of the house, and plant a colorful mix of sunflowers.
The birds love them, and nothing is more cheerful as the tallest ones stare into my kitchen windows. These will be annuals, and I have chosen Giant Sungold, which is a tall relative of the cute fluffy Teddy Bear, Giganteus which lives up to its name with huge flower heads, and Razzamatazz mix, which is smaller and blooms in red, white, yellow and orange.
I have two enormous perennial Maximilian sunflowers in that border, and it should be quite a spectacle between the houses. These will be directly seeded into the ground when spring is really here.
Such wonders to look forward to.