Hardy Annuals to Sow in Autumn.
Autumn is a great time to start growing your own flowers. Stick to Hardy Annuals to start so you don’t need any expensive equipment. Simply prepare the ground (remove weeds then work the soil to a fine tilth) then sow the seeds where you want them to flower next year. All the following seeds are completely hardy and very easy to grow.

Hardy Annual Fillers:
Row 1 Ammi majus, Anethum Mariska and Orlaya grandiflora
Row 2 Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens, Nigella (distinctive seedheads) and Ammi visnaga
Row 3 Daucus carota, Bupleurum and Nigella

Hardy Annual Flowers:

Choose flowers for their varied forms and colours. Scabious produce button flowers in tasteful shades of white, pink and soft blue plus bright red and almost black too. For tall spires of blooms in pink, white and blue shades then Larkspur is perfect. Marigolds are often the first to flower in my garden and provide a welcome splash of colour. Clarkia in shades of pink, red and white is beautiful, fast and very cold tolerant. Every bud will open in the vase. Clary sage (salvia) comes in white, blue, pink and mixed and is exceptionally long flowering. Cornflowers grow in a range of colours and are particularly lovely with Ammi. In addition to being great garden plants, all of these flowers are good for cutting and loved by bees and butterflies.

Row 1 Scabiosa atropurpurea 
Row 2 Larkspur, Calendula, Larkspur 
Row 3 Clarkia, Salvia and Centaurea.

Californian Poppies are low growing and brilliant for wildlife and posies. Sow them with Gypsophila ‘Covent Garden’ for a stunning combination. Poppy flowers are plentiful and followed by fat seed pods. I love the darkly dramatic Papaver ‘Lauren’s Grape’ and if you want seeds for bread baking then Papaver ‘Maanzaad is the one to grow.

If you live in the UK you can sow Hardy Annuals in September, October and even November.

There are some seeds such as Nigella that actually need a cold spell to break their dormancy. However, it’s best to start your plants off before it becomes too cold for them to grow. The aim is to get your plants to produce good foliage and roots before winter, so it’s best to sow seed as soon as possible. You’ll always get the strongest plants with the most flowers by sowing in autumn and you’ll save precious time in spring when there are lots of other jobs to do.  If you’re growing flowers for cutting then you’ll love the long stems that autumn sown flowers produce.

Sweet Peas

Autumn is a great time to sow Sweet Peas Lathyrus odoratus. Sweet Peas are Hardy Annuals and there are several reasons to sow sweet peas in autumn including:

1) You’ll have your pick of the varieties of Sweet Pea seeds if you order them now.

2) They will produce an excellent root system before winter.

2) Autumn sown sweet peas produce the most vigorous plants and slightly earlier flowers too.

There are lots of sweet peas to choose from. You can pick individual varieties such as the tasteful, pale and interesting High Scent, Molly Rilstone and Betty Maiden. If you prefer darker and more dramatic flowers then Blue Velvet, Cupani and Beaujolais may be more up your street. If you only have the space to grow one row of Sweet Peas then it’s probably best to choose a mixture such as Just Peachy, Blue Ocean, Cocoa Mix or In the Pink.

There are many Hardy Annual Wildflowers that you can sow in autumn. Some of them like Corncockle Agrostemma and Wild Carrot Daucus carota are also good for cut flower production. Others such as Achillea, Anthemis, Trifolium, Phacelia and Viola have much shorter stems but they are lovely in the garden and brilliant for wildlife, providing food and shelter for lots of tiny creatures.

These are just a few of the beautiful blooms that you can grow in your own garden. For a greater selection take a look at Seeds to Sow in September.
In the past few years we’ve had lovely mild autumn weather which is perfect for getting your seeds off to a great start. If it’s too cold and wet in your area then you can sow them in an unheated greenhouse or a cold frame for protection and still achieve the same great results.
Wishing you a very happy and flower filled autumn, Gillian.