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My little sister kept saying,  “It’s THE BEST poppy ever”. larens_one

Glad  I finally took her advice and raked some Lauren’s Grape Poppy Seeds into my garden this winter. 

I’ve never grown a prettier poppy–and I’ve grown at lot of these wonderful flowers over the years. 

Annual poppies are easy.  Just spread the tiny seeds in fall or winter. Rake them in open garden soil  and stand back. larens_wide

These tall , stately plants will bloom, then set thousands  of seed of their own.  There will be plenty to share with gardening friends (or sisters) for next season. 

One more thing–perennial Oriental poppies are a whole different beast.  They don’t enjoy our Southern heat and drought at all. 

larens_three

So stick with hardy annual poppies like Lauren’s Grape.  Check out one of my sister’s favorite sources, Select Seed for some poppy seeds of your own.

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If you’ve ever grown pansies, you’ve grown Hardy Annuals.  Plants that winter over, bloom in early spring, and then set seed  are very easy to grow in the South.  So don’t stop at pansies.  There are dozens of hardy annuals you can try.  These 4 are making a big splash in my zone 7 B garden right now.

Baby Blue Eyes look great with viola.   The viola came to the garden as transplants from Campbell Road Nursery in Cary. The Baby Blue Eyes  grew around them from a few packets of seed I raked in.   Love the color combo of blue and violet.  A true blue flower is hard to find.  This little one fits the bill.

Dianthus is another favorite hardy annual of mine.  Fragrant and covered with blooms, I  like to combine them snapdragon (below). 

Flashy aren’t they?  What hardy annuals are you having good luck with this spring?  Please add them to the list.


Lots of shovel action going on in my Apex neighborhood these days–and I’ve done my share of spring planting.  But some of the  best things in my garden right now are the hardy annuals I planted last fall. 

Like these snapdragon–Bought in October at my favorite local plant source, Campbell road nursery, these transplants became very  full and stocky over the winter.  They are at least three times the size of the ones I forgot about, left in the cold frame, and didn’t plant til early March. 

Larkspur blooms coming soon--in front of the old roses

Larkspur is another terrific annual to plant in fall.  I sowed these seeds in October, and I can’t wait for the tall spiky blue blooms that will be coming soon.   It’s one of my favorite flowers and one of the best investments a Southern gardener can make. 

So flip you calendar ahead to September and October and make a note in bold sharpie:  Buy and plant hardy annuals.  Next spring, you’ll be so glad you did.

PS.  Don’t forget the kitchen garden.  We’ve been eating our greens and leeks for about 6 weeks now.  All were set out as transplants last fall and are so much better than what you get in the store.  My purple cabbage is delicious!


In this season of excess–a quick post about the best $1.49 I’ve ever spent. 

Yea, $1.49, mere pocket change for the best spring flower I grow. 

Larkspur is one of the Hardy Annuals, a class of plants that do best in the south when they’re sown in the fall. 

Frosts make these plants, stronger–their long stems stockier.  In May, they bloom in long showy stalks of cool colors. 

June heat completes the cycle.  These cool weather annuals hate high temps.  They go to seed and die.  But they’ll re-seed all over your garden.  Buy them once, and you won’t have buy them again for years. 

Hardy annuals resist transplanting, so rake them in where you want them to grow.  I always get my  the seeds in before Christmas.  Right now,  I’m just waiting for a warm dry day. 

These seeds came from one of my favorite local stores–Stone Brothers and Byrd in Durham.  A great place for gardeners to hang out, they do more than sell the products we need–they give lots of good advice.  I like the newsletter, monthly tips, and I love supporting a store where the people know what they’re doing (and know many of their customers by name)  http://www.stonebrothers.com/

Check out their bulbs and organic products–but I bought the last of their larkspur seed.  Here’s a source for value priced seed and another small family owned business run by passionate gardeners–The Fragrant Path P.O. Box 328 Fort Calhoun, NE 68023 www.fragrantpathseeds.com.   ( I love their dark blue larkspur, pictured below)

Deep Blue Larkspur in my garden last spring from a winter sowing

The minimum order is 5 dollars, so why not try some annual poppies, too.  Money very well spent.   You’ll thank me in the spring.

By the way, I did spend only $ 1.49.  The seed packs are a BOGO special at Stone Brothers–how cool is that!

A friend gave me the seed for this stunning Hardy Annual Poppy--Wow!

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