Every winter, the surfeit of seed catalogs in my mailbox tempts me beyond all reason. I fold over page after page, enticed by the glorious display of new flower seeds. I start shopping lists that add up surprisingly quickly, dreaming of all the beautiful petals waving in the summer breezes. I make elaborate plans for the perfect garden, full of fragrance and butterflies with never a weed in sight. For a few weeks, I live in a gardener’s dream. And then I wake up, and realize I cannot spend hundreds of dollars on new flower seeds for my tiny suburban backyard. So I pare my list down and choose a few favorites to try. Here’s what’s making my list in 2017.
Cupcakes Mix Cosmos (Park Seed). Fused outer petals give these cosmos a unique appearance. They really do look just like a cupcake wrapper! Many of them are also double, boasting frilly inner petals that add to the appeal.
Strawberry Blonde Marigolds (Burpee). Marigolds are easy-to-grow favorites that wind up in nearly every flower garden eventually. Their colors have historically been limited to oranges, yellows, and creams. This year, though, several catalogs are offering ‘Strawberry Blonde’, with rosy pink overtones. New color tints are a welcome addition to the marigold family, making these new flower seeds a must-try for 2017.
Cupcake Series Zinnias (Select Seeds). More cupcakes? Seed catalogs are out to make us hungry this year! Zinnias are one of my favorite flowers to grow, and this fancy new form is especially fun. This mix has a wide variety of colors, and is bound to attract butterflies.
Quartet Rainbow Stock (Johnny’s Selected Seeds). Ah, the sweet scent of summer stock. It’s even edible so you can add it to salads for a special display. This pastel pink and yellow color combo is hard to pass up, so it’s definitely on my list of new flower seeds for the year.
Angel Tiger Eye Red Violas (Harris Seeds). The unusual markings on these violas really caught my eye. Though Harris Seeds caters to commercial growers, they sell to regular gardeners too. Take advantage of that and be the only on in the neighborhood to grow these unique violas in 2017.