I believe it was the Greeks who first named the flower Cosmos. They saw the well-ordered petals around the center and considered it similar to how they believed the Cosmos to be. ‘Cosmos’ means ‘balanced universe’ in Greek.
I know what you’re thinking….”wow! Higgers….you’re so brainy!”….and you’d be right of course…but not just brainy…practical too. Our friend Cosmos is a super practical addition to any cutting garden. It’s easy to grow….has a long flowering period…keeps producing flowers after you cut them…and it lasts well in the vase.
Cosmos are right up there in the flowery hall of fame when it comes to the best flowers for your cutting patch. I am never ever ever without cosmos in my gardens. The first cosmos flower of the year is like meeting up with an old chum and splitting a bottle of posh wine in the sunshine. The issue I’ve had is how many varieties can I sensibly stock. Higgledy is a ‘micro business’ and we have to keep our total range under one hundred varieties and choose only the very best of the bunch (excuse the pun.) So I decided that I would stock the finest three Cosmos that exist on planet earth right now in the 21st century.
“This popular annual cosmos makes a great filler for a sunny border, and as long as it’s dead-headed regularly, it will produce a succession of pure white, saucer-shaped flowers from early summer to mid-autumn. It’s very easy to grow and it makes an invaluable addition to the cutting garden.” RHS.
Cosmos ‘Purity’ was the first cosmos I grew back in the day. I had an incredible first harvest. We had flowers until November. I used to sell bunches of flowers in a local health food shop in Cambridge. Customers used to grab the bunches of flowers out of my hand before I could them to the manager. ‘Purity’ always helped to sell the bunches. You rarely see them in florists as I don’t think they travel well.
Cosmos ‘Fizzy Rose’.
“A bushy, upright, half-hardy annual with finely-divided foliage and semi-double, white flowers stained and edged a dark pinkish-red, borne on stems to 1m tall, from summer into autumn.” RHS
I saw these growing in my chum, Mandy’s front garden. They are about as jazzy as I think a cosmos flower should go….I’m not a fan of cosmos with fluted petals for instance. I used to refer to ‘Fizzy Rose’ as ‘posh totty’s knickers’ but that was in the 1990’s and I need to refrain from that sort of language now. Fizzy Rose always sells well and my loyal customer base send me photos and tell me how much they love them…so Fizzy Rose is with us for the long haul.
“Sensation Series are half-hardy annuals with fine, feathery foliage and, from summer into early autumn, single flowers, to 9cm in diameter, in shades of pink, red and white that are borne on stems to 1.2m tall” RHS
Not having Cosmos ‘Sensation’ in my seed shop would see me in the soup. The flower growing public would burn effigies of me and I would be sent to live on the Isle of Wight. Some say Sensation is a tad too flouncy for their tastes…and I get that….but it is certainly not too flouncy for mine. I have no problem with pinks and the bees seem to love Sensation too.
Tips for growing cosmos from seed:
*Either direct sow your Cosmos seeds direct into the soil after threats of frost have disappeared….or sow six weeks earlier in pots…in a greenhouse or on your windowsill. Best just not be in too much of a rush to get them started…one bit of frost and our Cosmos chums will keel over…and you will be all sad…guilty….and be in the shallows of despair….well…maybe. I sow mine from April (undercover)…outside after 15th May… This year I sowed some on March 6th as an experiment in early sowing. I will keep you posted. I noticed that the wonderful flower farm ‘Organic Blooms’ sows in March…although they are in the southwest, which will account for early sowing to some degree.
*Prepare the bed you are going to grow them into…make sure it gets lots and lots of sun and is weed free.
*I thin my seedlings to a foot apart…many other flower folk sow two feet apart….either way your plants will need staking if the site is exposed.
*Don’t feed your Cosmos as too much nitrogen will give you heaps of green growth but few flowers…a poorish soil is fine.
*When you harvest cosmos flowers…cut them just above a leaf node and this way you will get some more blooms.
If I was thee, I would buy a packet of each from the Higgledy Seed Shop of Dreams.
If you have any questions you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and you will see heaps of photos of flowers, the boat garden and Flash on Instagram.
Higgers and Flash
PS. I am just starting to sow my annuals for this season (The time of writing is late March.) Next week I will sow a few hundred pots for my boat garden and for the garden I am creating with some friends at the Taraloka Buddhist retreat center. I will be blogging all this as a ‘grow along with Higgers’ vibe….feel free to join in. :)