“Spring has never been the same since my first season full of snapdragons, bells of Ireland, sweet peas, sweet Williams, and many other beauties.” So opens the Introduction to Lisa Mason Ziegler’s new book, Cool Flowers. Not only are these flowers cool, as in trendy, but they grow in the coolest weather. Fall is the best time to plant these and others in mild winter areas. Sow the seeds in early spring, early on, before the last frost date for hard winter areas, when you just want to get growing. These flowers, called hardy annuals, withstand cold temperatures and bloom early in the spring, setting a gardeners hands twitching, wanting to get out there and dig in the dirt some more.
Lisa is a flower farmer. In the beginning chapters of Cool Flowers, she explains how she got started as a commercial flower grower. She talks about her passion for flowers, her first growing season, her first sale, and the encouragement given her by her husband. As you read, you feel as if you are sitting with a friend, enjoying some of her life stories.
Then Lisa explains how to plant seeds indoors and how to nourish the soil so that you will have a successful flower garden.
The book’s midsection includes a broad listing of hardy flowers. There are tips, growing conditions, and Lisa’s favorite varieties all geared toward getting you a successful cool season garden.
The last sections deal with how to make you a successful gardener. There is advice on planting seeds directly into a cutting garden, or in a landscape or containers. There is also some information on mulching, fertilizing, and when and how to harvest your flowers, even some talk about beneficial creatures visiting your flowers.
You can grow some early flowers few casual gardeners who buy bedding summer annuals will ever see. Some of the best advice comes near the end of the book, in a section called Getting the Most. Lisa says, “Complete any needed thinning of direct-sown seedlings (in the spring). While immature seedlings may look healthy when crowded, they will not continue to look good or be healthy when mature.” This is a hard lesson to learn. I know I hate to pull out perfectly healthy looking plants in order to make enough room for the survivors to grow and flourish. It has taken me many years to be ruthless with this chore. Sometimes I regress and am always sorry for it.
I highly recommend this little easy-to-read book for anyone who wants to expand his or her gardening knowledge. Look for Lisa Mason Ziegler’s article, FALL ON A FLOWER FARM, in this newsletter.
NOTE: From time to time, I am asked if I would like a free copy of a book to review. This is one of those times. I’m not asked to give a favorable review but am left to my own conclusions on how valuable the book is to our readers.
Posted October 10, 2014
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