In the Garden:
Middle South
June, 2003
Regional Report

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One of the first things I planted in my new yard was 'Florence' bachelor button, which eagerly becomes a permanent resident when allowed to shed ripe seeds.

Reseeding Flowers

In the last fifteen years I have moved four times and started four new gardens. What have I learned? The first thing to do when you claim a place to call home is to plant reseeding flowers. Whether you live there a year, a decade, or a lifetime, the process you begin will continue forever, which will make the world an even more beautiful place.

Nature's Invitations
In our region, many lovely flowers are willing to naturalize with only a little help (see list below). That help consists of making an initial planting using purchased seeds, and then allowing the plants to produce mature seeds. Think of them as deposits in your yard's seed bank. As extra insurance, I gather a few seeds and store them in envelopes until the best planting time comes.

Here are the 12 most successful reseeders for our region, and when to plant them. Any varieties are fine, but non-hybrids are preferred. Right now you can plant sulphur cosmos, French marigolds, non-hybrid zinnias, and plume celosias. In the fall, sow forget-me-nots, bachelor buttons, corn poppies, rose campion, flowering tobacco, chamomile, and larkspur. I'll be collecting seeds of these for the next few weeks, and letting millions of them plant themselves in the garden, too.

Fail-Safe Bed
There are many more great reseeders, so experiment with your favorite flowers to see what they'll do. Once you get to know what the various seedlings look like, you will be delighted to spot them popping up everywhere. If they appear in an awkward place, dig them up and move them. Indeed, I recommend creating a special "fail-safe" bed where you can dump seed-bearing stems, slip in misplaced seedlings, or allow dug up mama plants to sit and ripen their seeds. Once your yard becomes a seed bank for beautiful flowers, the fail-safe bed becomes its safety deposit box.


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