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Fabulous Foliage from Seed: Purples and Reds

‘Purple Majesty’ millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and ‘Osmin’ basil (Ocimum basilicum) with golden elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Aurea’) and ‘Limelight’ four-o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

Whether you’re a fanatic for foliage-focused plantings or simply appreciate the many ways that colorful leaves can enhance your flowers, it can be hard to resist the latest anything-but-green perennials and woodies in nursery catalogs and garden-center displays. Take one look at the price tags on these beauties, though, and you may be contemplating a loan to bulk up your plant-buying budget. And then, you’ll still have to wait a couple of years for them to settle in and fill out to their full glory.

There’s a way to make your gardening dollars go further and get faster results at the same time: by taking advantage of the many annuals and tender perennials that are easy to grow from seed. They come in a wide range of heights and colors, so you’re sure to find some that can complement just about any bed, border, or container planting you can dream up, and you’ll be waiting only weeks to start enjoying them.

Lovely in their own right, seed-grown foliage annuals are also useful for testing combinations or large-scale planting plans before fully committing to them. If the heights and colors work out, you can then replace them with similar perennials or shrubs; if not, you can easily replace them with another option the following year.

There are so many excellent seed-grown foliage annuals that I’m dividing them up by color. Let’s start the series with the deliciously dark-leaved options.

Continue reading Fabulous Foliage from Seed: Purples and Reds
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Resources for Seed Starters

Happy spring, folks! Things are popping out all over in the garden, and I’m delighted to see them, but my main focus right now is still on sowing seeds. Based on the number of orders — and questions — I’ve been getting, it’s an ongoing project for many of you too. So instead of doing Bloom Day this month, I’ve been working on a series of pages related to the seed-sowing process here at Hayefield. Continue reading Resources for Seed Starters

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Make the Most of Self-Sowers (Part 2)

Silene dioica 'Ray's Golden Campion' [©Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]
Silene dioica ‘Ray’s Golden Campion’

Last month, I started discussing one of my favorite kinds of seeds: the self-sowers.  Though they have a reputation for being easy, self-sowers tend to make their own rules, sometimes needing specific germination conditions and benefiting from a little custom care to work to best advantage. Over the years, I’ve come up with some ways that work well for me and identified a bunch of self-sowers that have been happy to make Hayefield their home.

Continue reading Make the Most of Self-Sowers (Part 2)