“In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” — Margaret Atwood
Salutations to spring, the season beloved by grow-happy gardeners anticipating the last frost and their first dig in the dirt! But what if we didn’t have to wait? Thankfully, there are seeds that crave cold spells and relish a jumpstart on the season. Such cool-season annuals as Bachelor’s Button (also known as Cornflower), Bells of Ireland, and Sweet Pea can be planted up to a month before our zone’s last frost.
Bachelor’s Buttons come in various tints and shades, but blue varieties are stunning – so stunning that its namesake (Cornflower Blue) labels sapphires, crayons, and artist-grade paint. Direct sow seeds in a sunny spot and water, then trust Mother Nature to do the rest. Bachelor’s Buttons are self-seeding, so they will return each year.
Few flowers capture brilliant green like Bells of Ireland. These gems make great border plants (height 2-3’) and cut flowers. No cottage garden is complete without them. Freeze seeds for a couple weeks, remove and soak for a few days, then direct sow in a sunny spot.
Last but not least, Sweet Peas are elegant in sight and scent. Their fine tendrils can easily scale several feet, and their frilled blooms effuse an intense perfume. Plant them somewhere they can climb freely but also near walkways, patios, or porches so their scent can be enjoyed. Soak seeds before directly sowing.
For more information on cool-weather annuals and general gardening, check out books from our collection: