23 Feb Early Spring Flowers
When you live in Central Florida you are not supposed to complain about winter! I will however complain about 3 nights of ours where temperatures dipped well into the ’20’s for several hours. I have learned not to trust the forecast lows for our town as I believe my garden sits in a frost pocket so I usually subtract 5 degrees from the predicted temperature to be on the safe side. This would mean that we probably hit in the low 20’s at some point. Devastating for a sub-tropical garden. Things will regenerate but the main garden is a sad tangle of browned leaves right now!
Ranunculus and Anemones can take a little cold but I still covered them just in case. The Anemones were one of the first main cut flowers to start up this spring.
I grow these larger Anemone Coronaria “Jerusalem Blue” and the smaller and more delicate doubles “Lord Lieutenant”
Anemones are a wonderful cut flower for Central Florida and have a great vase life. The corms are planted as soon as it starts to cool down (usually November) and they can start to flower as early as the end of January.
An experiment with Ranunculus last year revealed that they are definitely worth growing in our area. Whilst they are a little more demanding than the Anemones, they are so unbelievable beautiful that they are worth the effort!
I planted a mix of Italian Ranunculus from Onings this year. Rosa Scuro has been the first to flower. The others all have buds too and my hope is to get a nice crop before the temperatures get consistently warm. They start to suffer once it gets hot.
Those silky petals just begged to be touched! I’ll post an update of the other colors that are about to flower in a few weeks and I will also dedicate a complete post to Anemones and Ranunculus in the fall to show how I go about planting them.
While the Anemones were just getting going in January, the flower that really stole the show was the Katz Stock. I ordered “plugs” last year rather than sowing seed and was amazed by both their vigor and the fact that they grew to almost 36 inches with a very full head of flowers. My only regret was that I probably should have followed up with a sowing of seed to extend the season as once cut they are done. The scent is powerful but not overwhelming.
I try to maximize every inch of my cutting garden and that means that the moment the stock had been fully cut the bed got pulled, worked over, fertilized and replanted with Zinnia seedlings that I had started a few weeks earlier. I normally like to direct sow Zinnias but by getting them going in seed trays I get a jump start whilst waiting for a space to open up for them. I’m also sowing Celosia and Amaranth in preparation for the hot weather which is just around the corner for us. Succession planting and planning creatively is something I am really working on this year so that I can have a continuous flow of flowers into summer.