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Growing flowers

Not just for pretty

I wanted more flowers in and around my gardens not just for looks but also for the benefits they can bring as beneficial companion plants. I studied combinations of beneficial plants and chose a selection to go with the vegetable crops I was planting.

What I learned

  • Flower seeds didn’t germinate well in my greenhouse.
  • Some seeds are so incredible small that it is very difficult to seed them appropriately.
  • They take forever to bloom.

Because they take so long to flower, I realize I need to start them as soon as I can in the spring. Only experience will tell when that is.


Direct seeded

In the chard/kale/cabbage area I planted chamomile and anise hyssop directly as soon as I transplanted the cabbage. It appeared that a few chamomile had sprouted but no hyssop. When I began transplanting extra chamomile to another bed I found there were over 25 sprouts in the new bed, and a dozen or so where they were sown originally.

Greenhouse germinating

I wanted to get a start on flowers so I attempted to germinate some in the greenhouse. Conditions were right only for 3 puny chamomile, two borage and two calendula. And it took forever - more than a month.

Direct seeding early in the season may be a better choice.


Some annual plants seed themselves if left to their own habits. When they oblige I allow this assertive behavior because it requires very little effort from me.


Chamomile was prolific seeding itself, the sprouts arriving before the original plants were done flowering. The sprouts formed a carpet of green and spread well beyond the flower bed.

The flowers are pretty and the aroma almost overpowering. I collected quite a few mature blossoms for drying for tea. They brew very nicely and I can make the brew as strong or as mild as I care. I harvested blossoms only after the petals began to fall toward the stem.

Crimson clover

The crimson clover from the previous year was lovely and provided a large quantity of pollen for local honey bees, as well as an early splash of color to the garden.

I thought I had terminated the crimson clover before it had viable seeds, but I was too late. But that meant I had a lot of germinating clover by September.


I started these by direct seeding. In the fall I collected a large sack of seeds. Silly me! Those seeds that fell on the ground sprouted in the spring and I had a little-effort stand of colorful marigolds.


The same went for sunflowers. Now, rather than collecting seeds, I shake the flowers when I remove the stalks and wait from the seeds to wake up.

Blanket flower

I direct seeded these and let them go to seed in the same area. I did help them out a bit by spreading some of the dried flowers over a nearby area. These sprouted in the fall. I'll see how they manage the winter weather, hoping some show up in the spring.

/home/davidbac/domains/ · Last modified: 2018/12/30 23:54 by David Bach