Last week I posted about overwintering spring greens and herbs.   This week some of the special flowers that overwintered in my garden are coming into  bloom.  

Pansies and violas are probably the best known in this group, but there are lots of other winter annuals that don’t make the nursery hit parade.   

Like Sweet Peas:  Melissa must have  a thing about these fragrant, old-fashioned flowers.  “We can’t grow those, can we?” she’s asked me more than once.   

The answer is Yes, we can grow sweet peas— We just can’t grow them like they do in England or Maine, or New Jersey.  Our summers are too hot.   But we can grow sweet peas and other hardy annuals  in a way that I think is even cooler–from seeds sown in the fall. 

Larkspur and poppies are also easy from fall-sown seed.   Just rake them in where you want them to grow.

Check out the  the results in the photo below.   Larkspur is off and growing  really well in my front  flower bed.  You’re looking at more than a dozen plants from a three dollar pack of seeds.  And in a month, I’ll have lost of beautiful blue spikes. 

So what happens when it gets hot?  After the larkspur and poppies bloom, I yank and compost all the plants, then use the space for heat loving annuals like zinnias and saliva.   Just one of the perks of living in the South where we have three growing seasons. 

Here’s a list of some of the hardy annuals I love to grow:

From transplant–





From Seed–


Shirley and Ca. Poppies

Sweet Peas

People who grow these plants always have lots of seed to spare–so make friends.  Hardy annuals are a fun way to fill a garden without spending a lot of green. 

Any other small investment–big payoff ideas out there? Will trade for seed.