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You can never have too many flowers in your life (and the birds, bees and every other creature in your garden would agree).
Autumn is the perfect time to plan your late winter and spring flower show; sowing flowers from seed is an easy and economical way to get masses of colour, wherever you want it.
Here are some of the gorgeous choices for autumn sowing:
Yates Aquilegia ‘Columbine’ – sometimes called ‘Granny’s Bonnet’ these delightful cottage style plants have unusual and very attractive flowers in cream, pink, yellow and lavender, combined with dainty fern-like foliage. Or try Yates Aquilegia 'Winky Double Red-White' for elegant double bi-coloured flowers in shades of deep red and white. Aquilegia blooms last well in a vase and are very attractive to butterflies.
Yates Calendula ‘Pacific Beauty’ – taking only 10 weeks to flower, calendulas put on a bright show of apricot, yellow and orange flowers. Calendula flower petals can also add a sprinkle of colour and flair to a salad.
Yates Cornflower ‘Mystic Blue’ – creating a beautiful cottage meadow feel, this is a hardy, easy to grow variety that produces an abundance of beautiful double flowers in rich shades of blue.
Yates Cornflower ‘Double Mixed’ – if you can’t decide which cornflower colour to grow, this mix of pinks, blues and whites creates a gorgeous display of flowers that also makes a great cut flower.
Yates Canterbury Bells 'Cup & Saucer' - a classic mixture of pink, white and blue, single or double, bell-shaped blooms - each sitting on its own 'saucer' - that creates a classic cottage garden effect when planted en masse. Also from the Campanula family, you could try Yates Carpathian Bellflower - it's a showy perennial that produces masses of large, upturned, starry violet blue flowers.
Yates Sweet Pea 'Original' - experience the delightful fragrance of the original sweet pea, as it was when introduced from Sicily 300 years ago. These sweet peas deliver rich, vibrant colour and unrivalled perfume.
And of course, don't forget the poppy family!
Yates Poppy 'Flanders Red' - A beautiful rich, red papery bloom, recognised as the flower of remembrance for war dead, and as the emblem of ANZAC Day. They make an exquisite massed display, flowering over a long period.
Yates Shirley Poppy Mix - this classic has large silky single and semi-double blooms, many with picotee edges and colours of salmon, rose-pink, crimson and red. The ruffled, papery flowers and fernlike foliage create a delicate effect in a cottage garden, and are a magnet for bees.
Yates California Poppy 'Gold Rush' - Produces beautiful silky, fluted flowers in a rich, buttery cream colour. Easy to grow and drought tolerant, they bloom all summer and are ideal for planting in drifts of shimmering colour, or at the front of a border.
Before sowing or transplanting flowering plants into a garden bed or pot, enrich the soil or potting mix first with some Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food.
Once the flower seedlings are around 5 cm tall, start feeding with potassium fortified Yates Thrive Roses Flowers Liquid Plant Food, which contains a balanced blend of nutrients to promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of colourful flowers.
Another potted plant that makes a beautiful gift on Mother’s Day are the very popular (and traditional) chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemums are a type of daisy that come in a wide variety of very pretty colours, from white and cream through almost every shade of pink and even light green. They can have open, simple flowers or have masses of petals.
Chrysanthemums are often treated as a short-lived plant, but with the right care they can grow for several years. Here are some tips on how to keep your special chrysanthemum thriving:
Keep the pot in a bright position indoors where you can admire the flowers.
Water the pot regularly but not so that the saucer is full of water. It’s best to water the potting mix rather than over the foliage – this helps to minimise diseases.
Trim any spent flower heads regularly to keep the chrysanthemum looking tidy and help promote more flowers.
After a few weeks the plant can be moved outdoors and planted into a sunny garden bed or transplanted into a slightly larger pot, with good quality potting mix such as Yates Premium Potting Mix.
Feed each week with Yates Thrive Roses Flowers Liquid Plant Food throughout Autumn to promote a flush of new foliage and flowers.
Regularly prune away any dead stems and leaves and start feeding again in Spring.
Pest Control Tip: Chrysanthemums can sometimes be attacked by aphids, which are tiny sap sucking insects that often hide along stems and underneath foliage. They will deplete the plant and need to be controlled to help keep the plant healthy. A quick spray of ready to use Yates Super Shield Rose Spray concentrate will control the aphids you can see, as well as the aphids you can’t!