Yo, guys! Holy crap, it’s -17º here right now in MPLS with a -41º windchill. When the weather was this cold two weeks ago I was sure that would be the worst of it for the rest of the winter, you know, something to feel like I checked off the old “I made it through this GD winter list“. That’s something us Midwesterners are good at, looking at the bright side of a bad situation.
“It’s only -1,000,000º today and I can’t leave my house because my face will freeze off!”
Too bad I was so so wrong about the last cold snap being the worst of it – I’m longing for single, or even – dare I say it, double digit temps.
After the new year, winter becomes a mind game, and we have to have small victories in order to feel like we are advancing towards spring. Half the country is experiencing colder than normal temps today and since it’s all about making the best out of a bad situation, I thought I would warm up your day with this little nugget. If you’ve got a flower garden it’s time to think about ordering seeds! That’s right guys, seeds! Doesn’t that make your day a little better? I’m sharing this good news with you because last year I waited until March and a few of my favorite flower seeds were already sold out. I know it’s not even February, but get your seed order in today and have something pretty to look forward to!
I have favorites for my yard, both pictured above. I love Zinnias and Dahlias for my sunny spots. Both make great cut flowers and are so easy to grow. Both come in a variety of heights, colors and bloom sizes so you can find the perfect fit for your garden too. Here are a few of my favorites of each from gardens of summers gone by.
Dreamland Zinnias –
These Dreamland Zinnias
are my latest fav. My first efforts with Zinnias (years ago) were with the standard hardware store mixed pack “state fair” style. They produced tall plants with huge multi colored blooms. Although they produced a lot of color for my garden they became over grown quickly. These Dreamland zinnias provide that big bloom with a much shorter stalks that look nice and tidy, plus I can pick whatever color combos I want. Last year I had pink and white in my garden, although I wanted coral – I ordered late and it was sold out. This year I’m getting that order in early. It should be noted that Parkseed has a ton of varieties of Zinnias, so look around!
Zahara Zinnias –
It took me two seasons to get the hang of these Zahara
Zinnia seeds, but I found a spot in the yard they really like. They want a little sun and a little shade, and they look amazing, don’t you think? I love the variegated white with streaks of pink blooms.
Sorbet Dahlia –
Have you guys ever visited Dahlia Barn
? That’s the only place I get my Dahlias from. They have so many types of Dahlia tubers to choose from, plus they have a really cool story
. You should go check them out. The Sorbet Dahlia
(pictured above) is my new favorite. Unfortunatley Dahlia Barn doesn’t have this variety in stock just yet, fingers crossed though.
Chimacum Katie Dahlia –
I also loved Chimacum Katie
Dahlia, I don’t think I had it in the best spot last summer because it didn’t even bloom until September – but it was the most lush, hot pink color. I hope I can find a better spot for this lovely bloom in the spring.
This cold is driving me insane! I’m dreaming of summer and gardening too!
I love both Zinnias and Dahlias… definitely my favorite cut flowers.
I absolutely looooooove dahlias. They are one of my favorite flowers for the garden. I had a issue with them last year though. We get super hot, super dry summers and the heat was just too much for them, ill have to find a shady ish spot for them this year. I also love to plant flowers that attract hummngbirds. Any great options?
Hi Shavonda – We obviously live in different climates, you have to worry about high temperatures and I have to worry about too little sun when it comes to our Dahlias. That is too bad that you lost a few last season, hopefully you can find a nice shady spot this year. I wish I knew what hummingbirds like, I don’t know too much about them. Butterfly weed is a plant with a lot of nectar and is a big attractor of butterflies (duh) and hummingbirds – I would start there.
SO true about us midwesterners. Time for some hot dish and a pop! Stay warm!
Thanks for this! I needed the pep talk! It’s cold here too (MA), but I should be thankful that it’s not the kind of cold you guys are experiencing in MN! And I totally hear you on it being a “mind game” this time of year! I try to visit indoor greenhouses during these cold winter days…the warmth and humidity inside them make me forget that it’s 8 degrees outside.
Mindy! I agree, greenhouses and nurseries are the best medicine around this time of year!
Do you start your seeds inside?
Hey Meg! I start some of the veggies inside, but Zinnias do best for me when I sow them directly. I’ve tried seeding them inside in the past and the transplant crippled them. It took them more time to recover then if I just sowed them directly. How about you? Do you ever try and start flower seeds indoors?
I have never started anything indoors, but I am very tempted to try it, but we are gone a lot, so I fear that I’ll put out the effort then kill ’em. I usually go one one or two major shopping sprees and buy most seedlings at the Farmer’s Market and then have a planting day with my husband and cousin. What I don’t get there I buy at Eggplant Urban Farm Supply over here in St. Paul. It is a treat in the spring to swing by there on my way home from work and pick up a few things to plant after my big planting day is done and I know what space I have left. I also buy my seeds at Eggplant. I have a lot of success with Zinneas too, and I love being able to make up bouquets to give away at the end of summer.
@Shavona… The hummingbirds in our area go wild for bee balm and honeysuckle vine! Good luck!
Beautiful! We plant State Fair Zinnias from the Hudson Valley Seed Library, huge and wonderful. We collect the seeds in the fall for the next year.
Hey Beth, That sounds awesome! I’ve never collected the seeds before, I should do that, is it hard? What do you have to do?
So easy! At the end of the season, let the flowers dry on the stem a bit, until brown. Snip flower heads off and put in brown paper bag and store in a cool dry space. The seeds want to drop away from the flower head after they dry. Our flower heads were dry enough to give seeds away for the holidays this year.
Thanks Beth! I am totally going to do this next year and I love the idea of gifting them at the holidays. Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for this! Recently found your blog from house tweaking and I’m really enjoying it! I usually buy my flowers from the hardware store, and I totally know what you’re talking about with them getting too leggy. Also, buying seeds have to be a better bang for your buck,right? :) My mom and I planted a ton of petunias last year as my bulk annual, and while the color was spectacular all season, I’d love to have flowers I can cut. I am definitely going to order these zinnias-thank you for the link. I live outside Chicago, when do you usually plant your seeds?