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Many plants are easy to start by seeds

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Jennifer Moore
You need this in your perennial border.

The selection of seeds available to start your own plants is unbelievable. With such a variety to choose from, and beautiful pictures on the packages, it is difficult to make up our minds which ones to plant in our gardens.

Well, there are many that we can successfully grow in our gardens and even our planters. The old-fashioned varieties, or "heirlooms" as they are now called, are making a comeback. They seemed to have been drowned out by the new hybrids, yet some people did still continue to grow them with their own collected seeds. Now, many of these varieties are being demanded again by others, and thus being offered again.

Sowing of the seeds is not difficult; cultivate your soil, plant the seeds according to the directions on the packets and water. Just remember, possible frosts are still threatening, so if you are planting annuals, you may want to wait a couple of weeks.

Some of the easiest annual varieties include:

Zinnia - Single- or double-blossoms make long-lasting bouquets when cut just before they are fully open. Plant these seeds in well-drained soil in full sun, as they prefer a more hot and dry site. Different species range in blossom size, with "Pompom" being one inch across, to a small sandwich-sized "Cactus" variety. The newer "Envy" lime green colour is available, as well as bright yellow, red, orange, pastels and a very dark purple. They do have different heights as well, with the tallest being 3 feet. Don't be afraid to crowd these plants as they look better this way.

Cosmos - These should be grown in every garden because they are so easy to grow. A perfect back-of-the-border plant, they reach 3 to 4 feet tall and have very whispy foliage with daisy-like blooms. "Sensation" rewards the grower with pink, rose and white airy flowers on 3 foot tall stems, or "Bright Lights" gives a burst of bright orange on 12 inch stems. A novelty variety, called "Sea Shells" has tubular-shaped petals in pastels, creating something a little different than the ordinary flat petal.

Seeds are lightly scratched into moistened soil in a full-sun location. They should also be planted 6 to 8 inches apart, to allow their foliage enough space they require, because if planted too close, it limits the number of blooms that will be produced. I sow seeds closely, them move the small seedlings later if they are too close. Cosmos usually bloom 10 weeks after being sown and if the spent blossoms are removed before setting seed, they will continue to bloom until frost.

Poppies - Both the annual and perennial varieties are easy to grow from seed and what a sight it is to see their soft petals blowing in a summer breeze. Different blossom colours, heights and various characteristics in poppies can provide any gardener with the variety she/he needs. To grow poppies, simply cultivate the area, rake smooth and moisten the soil. Sprinkle the fine seeds on top of the soil, do not cover with soil as many need light to germinate. Don't try to transplant poppies as they dislike being moved, instead thin out the poppies to 2 to 4 inches apart. Poppies grow well in well-drained soil and in full sun, and can thrive even in poor soil. I grew pink bombast poppies, Shirley Poppies and Danish Flag poppies last year and will definitely do it again this year. Even though the flowers only last a day, the plant produces many flowers in succession.

To use poppies in arrangements, cut the poppy stem and sear it with a match right away to seal the end. Then arrange them like any other cut flower.

Many, many more vareities of plants are easily grown from seed, even sown directly into your garden. Additions of old-fashioned or new varieties to every garden is simply put - easy to do.

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