Spring Flowers from Winter Seeding
If you live in a part of the country where winter is not a time for constant snow and ice, you can garden all year round. Winter is a good time for you to think about starting flower seeds outdoors that will quickly start to flower in the cooler weather of spring. They can be replaced with summer flowers when that season comes around for you. You will have a wonderful display to mark the spring season for just a little work now.
Choose a sunny area with good drainage for your spring flowers garden. Dig the area well and incorporate some compost, or peat moss if you have nothing else. As you will be sowing flower seeds directly into the soil you should rake it well and finish with a nice smooth, level surface of crumbly soil. When you come to sow the seeds, simply scatter them over the area, rake very lightly and water well.
You need to choose seeds that will germinate and grow at lower temperatures and many heirloom seeds fit the bill. These are some of the traditional flowers grown by gardeners in the past from seed they saved themselves or swapped with neighbors. So growing these flowers reminds us of simpler times!
Heirloom Seeds for Your Spring Flower Garden
A good one to start with is Alyssum (Lobularia maritima). This pretty, sprawling plant with its clusters of bright, white flowers is an old homestead favorite that loves to grow in cool weather and flowers even when very small.
Another heirloom seed is Candytuft (Iberis umbellata). Its bright pink flowers are a perfect complement for Alyssum.
Now you need something taller and Bachelor Buttons (Centurea cyana) and Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) are a perfect choice. Bachelor Buttons are also known as Cornflowers because they grew wild in wheat fields. Farmers at one time called many cereal crops ‘corn’, especially wheat.
If you have a shadier part of this flower bed, that is where the Foxgloves will do best.
Something airy should come next and Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila elegans) will fit perfectly in your spring flower garden. This sister of the florists’ Baby’s Breath you see so often sold with roses, has slightly larger flowers and also cuts well to fill out an indoor vase of flowers.
No garden using heirloom seeds would be complete without Calendula (Calendula officinalis). The name refers to the plant being always in flower throughout the Calendar. The rest of its name – officinalis – tells us that it has medicinal uses, and it does. The plant contains powerful anti-inflammatory substances and calendula cream is soothing and calming for the skin and for acne. If you cut yourself while gardening, grab a petal or two and put it on the cut. It will immediately stop bleeding! In the garden it’s cheerful orange or yellow flowers will bring sunshine to the dullest day.
To finish the garden, sow some Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis). This heirloom seed is also called wild phlox because of the soft lilac flowers – which have a lovely scent and look a little like the true summer phlox. The name ‘Rocket’ refers to the speed at which the flower stems shoot up in spring.
All these flower seeds sown at any time between September and April will grow and flower early with no more work from you. The exact timing will depend on which growing zone you live in.