Garden Photo of the Day

Hugh’s Celebration of Annuals From Seed, Part 1

From seeds to beautiful flowers

‘Joseph’s Coat’ amaranth

Today we are visiting Hugh Locke’s garden in Shrub Oak, New York. Hugh’s Zone 6 garden has been showcased before (check it out here), but today’s photos are all annuals (plus a few biennials) that were grown from seed in 2021. He begins starting most seeds in February under lights in his garage, while a few are direct-sown in spring. Hugh has indicated below which flowers are completely resistant to the deer that wander through his unfenced garden. The other flowers are in pots on a large deck. While the deer can’t get there, Hugh calls this collection the “deer buffet.” You can also see his flower portrait series on Instagram.

‘Timeless Mix’ ageratumI like the transition of this deer-resistant ‘Timeless Mix’ ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum) from a pink bud to a lavender open bloom.

‘Joseph’s Coat’ amaranthThis ‘Joseph’s Coat’ amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor), named after the biblical figure, doesn’t need flowers with these spectacular leaves.

AngeloniaAngelonia (Angelonia angustifolia) is in constant bloom from summer up to frost. Although not related to snapdragons, it is sometimes called summer snapdragon. Deer resistant.

Chinese foxgloveChinese foxglove (Rihmannia angulata) is indeed from China, where the dried root is a widely used herbal remedy, but is not actually a true foxglove, even though the flowers are similar.

Chinese wool flowerThe Chinese wool flower (Celosia argentea) was nearly extinct, but thankfully this show-stopper is back. I grew it for the first time in 2021, and it will now be a recurring feature in my garden.

coneflowerThis clasping coneflower (Rudbeckia amplexicaulis) is so named because the lower leaves seem to clasp the stem. That seems to be a rather prosaic way to refer to this profusely flowering knockout. Deer resistant.

‘Rose Queen’ cleomeThe ‘Rose Queen’ cleome (Cleome hassleriana) has one of the longest-lasting blooms in the garden, as the flowers continue to open and the spent blooms turn into “spiders.” Deer resistant.

‘Salmon Sunset’ four o’clockThe ‘Salmon Sunset’ four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa) is so named because it opens late in the afternoon and lasts until the following morning. Technically it has no petals, and what you see is partially fused sepals.

‘Dalmation Peach’ foxgloveThis ‘Dalmation Peach’ foxglove (Digitalis purpurea hybrid) is one of the rare biennial varieties that flowers the first year when grown from seed. Deer resistant.

‘Marine’ heliotrope‘Marine’ heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), with its wonderful vanilla scent, is purported to be named after the sun god Helios because the flowers always face the sun. Deer resistant.

Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gateKiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale) is an heirloom plant native to China but with a long history in America going back to Thomas Jefferson’s garden. The almost fluorescent flowers appear in late summer atop reedlike 8-foot stems.

‘Dark Blue’ larkspur‘Dark Blue’ larkspur (Consolida ajacis) was new to my garden this year and has already begun self-seeding in our mild winter. Deer resistant.

We’ll have more annuals from Hugh’s garden in tomorrow’s GPOD post.

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  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/11/2022

    Love the heliotrope. I grew that years ago & just loved it. I need to look for that this spring.

    1. Hugh_Locke 01/17/2022

      Heliotrope is also a favorite for me. I get the seed from Select Seeds ( if that is of any help.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 01/11/2022

    So attracted to the ‘Dark Blue’ larkspur (Consolida ajacis) that you are growing, just love the color!
    I'm not on Instagram but if I was I sure would add you- amazing to see the scale of how big some of those plants are- having a person/you in the photo really makes it clear!
    Your post reminds me how amazing little annual seeds are!

  3. gardendevas 01/11/2022

    Impressive plantsmanship to have grown all these from seed! I adore heliotrope, and go out of my way to find them. Any tips for starting it from seed?

    1. Hugh_Locke 01/17/2022

      Agreed on heliotrope. One of the biggest challenges in growing indoors from seed is either fungus or damping off. To prevent this I put a thin layer of ground sphagnum moss on top of the starting mix. There are various sources of this moss but I use Mosser Lee "NoDampOff" and one bag goes a long way!

  4. btucker9675 01/11/2022

    Wow - everything is so beautiful. That peach foxglove is stunning. I have spotty luck growing from seed but you have inspired me to try harder!

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