What flowers can survive Delaware winters?

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Gardeners all over the First State look forward to spring and summer every year. For most people, these seasons of life and birth bring the annual peak to their outdoor gardens. However, the fun doesn’t have to stop when the cards turn. For Christopher Sylvester, owner of Spectrum Farms, a farm specializing in cut flowers outside Felton, the fall season means planting hardy annuals, or “pretty blooms.”

Here, Sylvester offers insight and expert advice on hardy annuals – what they are and which ones you can grow in your Delaware garden.

Located on the farm

When fall approaches, there are plenty of flowers that continue to bloom through the change of seasons and the arrival of cooler weather. Although when we think of autumn and flowers, our minds probably put our current gardens and blooming flowers aside. And move on to ideas for mums and pumpkins and their festive uses for decorating our front door steps.

For some, thoughts of autumn and flowers may run through fallen leaves, through the cold of winter and new blossoms in early spring. Some might say, of course, that we plant fall bulbs every year before the ground freezes. But that is not what we are referring to here. Have you heard of “wonderful flowers?”

At Spectrum Farms, when Sylvester and his team think of fall flowers, they don’t just think of wilting summer blooms and blooming dahlias, but they also think of those hardy annuals that should be planted about six weeks before the first frost. USDA Plant Hardiness Zone (Delaware is in Zone 7).

What is a hardy annual?

A hardy annual, like all annuals, is a plant that typically produces flowers for only one year. Although the unique thing about ‘hardy annuals’ versus typical annuals is that they will tolerate and thrive in cold temperatures; In other words, it is strong enough to survive freezing winter temperatures. (Yes, that also means surviving burial in the snow.) For those interested in more information, Lisa Mason Ziegler talks about hardy annuals and encourages trying them yourself in her book, Cool flowers.

What hardy annuals can I grow in my garden?

Some of Sylvester’s favorites are not only great for growing Spectrum as a cut flower planter but can also be fun for cottage gardens including Bachelor’s Buttons, Ammi, Canterbury Bells, False Queen Anne’s Lace, Feverfew, Bee Balm, Pincushion, and Snapdragon. , calendula, sweet pea, sweet William, and yarrow. All of the above plants are winter hardy to zone 7 or lower, which means cooler average temperatures. If you think you might be interested in enjoying some of these flowers in the spring, you’ll either need to start the seeds in trays to grow your starts this fall, or for some flowers, you can sow the seeds directly. These hardy annuals will establish roots and establish during cool fall temperatures, allowing them to become hardy enough to survive the cold winter and then thrive once temperatures begin to rise again in early spring.

If you’re interested enough to want to try growing hardy annuals this fall, you’ll find resources like thegardenersworkshop.com Includes a seed category in the online store for cold-season hardy annuals to make selection easier. And if you missed planting these hardy annuals in the fall, don’t worry; They are also ideal plants to start the growing season by planting them in early spring as well. Happy growing!

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