Few can resist the “wow!” factor of...
a giant sunflower or a stand of stately delphiniums, but if you've overlooked the appeal of tiny flowers you're missing out on a world of fragrance and beauty that will enhance your borders, hanging baskets, and miniature or fairy gardens. Part of the wonder of tiny flowers is their sheer mass of blooms. A single plant may contain thousands of flowers with shallow nectar tubes beckoning to butterflies. Many tiny flowers are extremely drought-proof, as their small size helps them to reduce moisture lost to evaporation. Tuck tiny flower plants into a rock wall, plant between pavers, use as fillers, or add them to cut flower arrangements However you use them watch how these minuscule but mighty blooms encourage you to stop and take a closer look at nature's perfection in diminutive form.
Sweet Alyssum - Far from trifling, the fragrance of tiny sweet alyssum blooms has been compared to fresh honey. The plants are very popular here at Watters Garden Center, and so easy to grow that we constantly look for new varieties. Just this morning we had three different varieties in differing shades of white. The seeds germinate very quickly, sometimes in less than a week, and transplants thrive in cool spring weather. To rejuvenate these annuals give the plants a haircut when blooming gets sparse.
Baby's Breath - You may know baby's breath best as the cliché filler flower in Valentines Day bouquets, but this perennial flower really adds to the beauty of local gardens. Don't let the delicate appearance fool you. This beauty is tough, tough, tough. Plants thrive in dry, average soil, but this is one plant that prefers our alkaline conditions which make it ideal for rock gardens.
Fairy Foxglove - Watters Garden Center does have the seed for this plant, but it is far easier to buy our full-grown specimens! The plants will happily grow in any rock crevice or wall, preferring shade in the middle of the day. The Plant is also known as starflower and alpine blossom.
Kenilworth Ivy - Part of the charm of this plant is the wonderful scalloped foliage that adds texture to the landscape even when the lavender flowers aren't blooming. However, that doesn't happen often as the plants can remain in bloom from spring until fall in moist soils with some afternoon shade.
Rock Cress - If you aren't familiar with rock cress, there are more than a dozen hybrids to start your collection. In mid to late spring the evergreen foliage sports hundreds of pink, purple, or blue flowers on two to four-inch tall plants. Trim the plants after blooming to maintain the compact, mounding shape.
Forget-Me-Not - If you struggle to find a pretty plant for your woodland garden that rabbits and deer won't bother, try low maintenance forget-me-not. In April and May, the plants are covered in bright blue flowers with cheerful yellow eyes. Although a short-lived perennial, the plants will self-seed and return for many years in moist areas.
Thyme - It's always a joy when a plant can do double duty in the garden, and thyme fulfills that role nicely. Choose a cultivar that acts both as a flowering ground cover and has culinary value, such as 'Italian Oregano' thyme. All thymes need full sun and good drainage, and plants respond well to shearing after the month of spring blooms pass. In turn, thymes will attract native bees and beneficial wasps, and the leaves will add their savory essence to your soups and vegetables. Very easy perennial to grow locally, even in rock soil.
Here's a gift suggestion as we look ahead to Mother's Day:
Moms love gift cards to their favorite nursery. They are guaranteed to enjoy filling shopping baskets with things needed for outdoor or indoor gardening. In reality, what you are giving the mothers in your life is 90 minutes of peace and quite to roam Watters' two acres of beautiful gardens. Gift cards are easier than ever to purchase online at WattersGardenCenter.com .
Until next week, I'll be showing off the tiny flowers here at Watters Garden Center.
Editor’s Note: Some of the images shown here may be published under the Creative Commons licensing. Images were possibly altered to accommodate the article. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/