Cosmos in Comparison

I believe most of the gardeners I know have at some stage grown Cosmos in their gardens. If you haven’t yet done so I would really recommend you to try. I have grown various ones over the years, so I thought I would do a little review of some that have thrived for me.

In Germany and in the UK they are sown in Spring and then planted out as soon as the danger of frosts is over. Such a shame they aren’t perennial! But they really are worth it as they are easy to grow.

First of all, Cosmos Double Click Cranberries. I have grown this one several times, and it has always germinated successfully, producing sturdy plants which flower profusely without too much foliage.

The petals have varied between plants, as you can see here. The single flower is one that set seed from last year’s crop.

I had forgotten there are quite a few in this series, and looking through old photos I grew this pink one – Double Click Rose Bonbon – some years ago.

I think that will go in my seed order for next year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Another one I have grown frequently is Purity….

As much as I love the pure white flowers and the sturdy stems, I have to say I will not grow this one again as it produces just far too much thick foliage on a lot of the plants, and only the odd plant seems to produce plentiful flowers. (See what I mean in the photo below?)

If you have grown another single white one which you liked, please let me know!

Next, one I grew for the first time this year: Daydream. It is a big success!

Pretty pink flowers, sturdy stems, nice height and not too much foliage.

… and here again complete with bumbling visitor…

One to consider for my seed list for next year.

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This next one is one I grew a few years ago: Xanthos…

I loved the pale lemony yellow flowers, but was a bit disappointed that it had so many flowers on the end of each stem making deadheading pretty tricky. Lovely in vases though.

Further away from the traditional pinks and mauves is this yellow and orange mix called Brightness Mixed…

One of these (pictured with Margerites) is Cosmos sulphureus, but is hard to tell apart from the pale orange ones in the mix. All were very prolific on the flower front, but these are not so tall. Perhaps only 30 -40 cm. Perfect for pots though. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Antiquity is one I discovered last year. It is also a relatively short one, but the way the petals fade, like fabric bleached by the sun, is so endearing. Here it is in a vase with the Double Click Cranberries…

One disadvantage though is that they do look messy if not deadheaded frequently, don’t you think?…

I tend to have irregular deadheading sessions, largely dependent on whether it is too hot or not! So I think I will drop this one from my palette in future.

Others I have grown are Picotee and Candy Stripe, both pale pink. Here is Candy Stripe, second from the left, with the distinctive pinky red fringe on its petals…

There are probably a couple more I have grown in the past, but before the digital age took off, so no photos to remind me! (Oh, I am showing my age! … We were chatting recently about the days when you had to find a telephone box to make a phone call, and how I always made sure I had some change in my purse! LOL!)

Anyway, it would be so lovely if you could post about some of the Cosmos you have grown, or at least leave me a comment about your experience with them and any favourites. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Thanks for visiting!

Lovely Lemon Verbena

Herbal tea is really popular in Germany, but there is one sort I will not buy from a store or market. Lemon Verbena. Or Vervain. It simply does not have that gentle rounded flavour you get when you grow your own. So some years ago I started growing my own.

Lemon Verbena, also know as Lippia citriodora or Aloysia triphylla, is sadly not hardy enough for our climate, so I grow it in pots. In a sunny and sheltered spot, with some shade from the strong afternoon sun, it thrives. I have managed to harvest enough to last me through the winter already this year. (I drink one cup a day). So my next harvest will be for gifts, especially for my niece who also appreciates this lovely tea.

Harvesting is simple. Just snip fresh growth, shaping the shrub as you go, and taking care not to shorten it by too much as to weaken the plant. I cut mine by about a third (in autumn by about half). In spring and summer it will start producing new stems and leaves immediately.

Drying the leaves thoroughly is very important if you want to store them. I strip them from the stems, spread them out on a baking sheet and leave them in an airy place, out of direct sunlight, turning them every day. Within a few days they have withered completely and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year. (I always add a piece of pasta to absorb any possible remaining bit of moisture).

If I have some strong healthy plants in autumn I will overwinter them in my stairwell, which is very light but not heated. I will water very very sparsely and most of the leaves will turn yellow and drop. But as soon as the plants are given some warmth and water in spring, they start regenerating. By the middle of May they can go back outside and be gently acclimatised to sunny conditions. From my experience night-time temperatures shouldnโ€™t be below about 10ยฐC. However, I always order new organic plants for the Spring in case mine donโ€˜t revive. I can never have too many! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you grow Lemon Verbena? Perhaps you have some tips I havenโ€˜t mentioned?

Here are a couple of links to some recipes using this herb that I have posted in the past.

Lemon Verbena/Lemon Verbena Sorbetย (vegan)

Lemon Cakeย (not vegan)

Or simply add a couple of leaves to an iced drink.

They smell wonderful. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Now, talking of iced drinks…

Stay cool! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜€๏ธ

In a Vase on Monday: The Sunhat Party ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Iโ€™m joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden again today for her Monday meme and have put together a collection of Echinacea, or cone flowers, known by the delightful name of ‘Sunhats’ (Sonnenhut) in German. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

I now have quite a collection of different sorts of Echinacea, with a couple yet to flower.

Left: Pica Bella, Centre top: Baby Swan White, Right: Sunseekers Yellow, Centre bottom: Green Envy

Today I picked:

  • Baby Swan White (about 60 cm tall!)
  • Green Envy: a new one and I am in love with those green petals which are tinged with pink from the inside outwards as they develop ๐Ÿ’•
  • Pica Bella (deep pink)
  • Flamethrower (hot orange)
  • Sunseekers Yellow

Green Envy

Flamethrower

They are partying with some Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’, some pink Gypsophilia, a bit of Verbena bonariensis and a red Snapdragon, some Euphorbia, Artemisia and a yellow Zinnia which I think is supposed to be a giant one but isnโ€˜t.

This year I grew some Everlasting Flowers for the first time and snipped a couple as decoration for my sunhat. If any of you have grown them before I would love to know how to harvest them best, so any tips are welcome!

Do you have any sunhats? Flowery or otherwise?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a lovely week!

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