In all my soul-searching about how to get more flowers in the garden in late autumn for my daughter’s birthday, it never occurred to me that half hardy annuals like the cosmos daisies could be a star performer. I planted the entire pack of free seeds from my Gardens Illustrated magazine earlier this year, and that gave me about 30 strong plants. They are stunning! Despite three frosty mornings, they’re powering ahead, and I’m not sure whether that’s due in part to my zero-tolerance policy this year on deadheading. Or rather, live heading – I cut the first flower spike off every plant, which encouraged the cosmos to throw out sideshoot upon sideshoot. If you love cut flowers for the house, you may want to try this next year.
This is a power tip that I picked up from Lisa Ziegler, who runs a cut flower nursery in Virginia in US. She was on my favourite gardening podcast earlier in the year, HearSay with Cathy Lewis and Jim Orband “In the Garden.” Lisa’s advice to count up four sets of leaves from the soil and cut off the flower there has proved an absolute winner for me, and given enough cut flowers for every room in the house! I’ve done a short video to show you how many flowers I got from one of my plants in the garden.
What do you think? Leave me a comment & let me know. Apologies that the video is somewhat truncated at the very end – I had to edit out the audio from my husband, who at that moment came into the garden and shouted, “Where is the dead bird?” I won’t go into detail — suffice to say it involved our cat, my squeamishness, and the division of labour in our house.