The Cosmos is the sort of flower that you may have seen in other people’s gardens and thought I would love to have that displaying in my garden. It’s a lovely statuesque cottage garden flower, usually with very pretty pastel colours and feathery leaves. It is rather magical for toddlers as it grows to just about their height making it ideal for viewing, smelling and picking. In fact the more picking the better as that will encourage more flowers to bloom.
The packets of seeds sold in the shops are usually those of Cosmos bipinnatus, which is an annual, and the variety you will most commonly see in the summer.
The characteristics that make it family friendly and a good seed to sow with you children are:-
- It is pretty easy to grow from seed.
- It usually only takes about 12 weeks from sowing to flower – so you will not have to wait too long.
- It has a long flowering period, as it will flower from June to September or even the first frosts. Certainly I have seen them flowering into late October this year.
- You can sow in pots or direct into the ground. Although not a wildflower they were used to magnificent effect in the Olympic Park planting scheme this year.
- Good cutting flower.
- Butterflies love Cosmos.
There is also one other type of Cosmos worth a mention because children love its scent. It is the Cosmos atrosanguineus If I say a good variety to buy is ‘Chocamocha’ then I am sure you will have guessed the aroma. Yes there really is a plant with a chocolatety smell.
This is a perennial plant which means it will comeback every year. However it is not fully frost hardy. To minimise frost damage you need either to protect its roots with a cloche or to take the plant into a frost free environment, such as a greenhouse for the winter.
Add a packet of cosmos seeds to your spring shopping list or even better pop a couple of packets in your children’s Christmas stocking this year.