Frost Friendly Flora

by Tusha Yakovleva

img_3912Hardy, cold-tolerant flowers mean not having to say goodbye to the garden come frost and saying hello to bright blooms in early spring. One of the pleasures of four-season gardening is that it opens opportunities to grow many beautiful flowers actually like the cold! Many need to go through an extended cold period before germinating, so planting them in the cold of fall or winter is perfect. They will then sprout up before the last frost date in the spring and be the first blossom in your garden:

Scented Sweet Peas: Differing from the edible peas, this flower variety starts on leggy vines, which then give way to long stemmed, multicolored fragrant blooms.

Forget me Nots: A great choice for shady areas of the garden. This biennial makes a delightful boundary between wooded areas and the garden.

Snapdragons: Up close, the flowers resemble a dragon head, ready to snap at any moment. In the garden these billowy, elegant flowers are a beautiful sight to behold, and the tall, lofty stems make them ideal for cutting.

Poppies: Poppy blossoms are some of the most beautiful flowers you can grow. But the petals, as thin and delicate as crepe paper, don't last long. 

Screen shot 2014-10-28 at 11.00.43 AMEvening Primrose: This soft yellow native biennial flower blooms in the evening, so fast that you can can watch it happening at dusk. We decided to grow this on the seed farm because it's sweet fragrance attracts night pollinators such as the hummingbird moth.

Lupine: A North American native with multi-colored, full blooms along tall stalks. When grown in bunches, they create a carpet of infinite combinations of blue, pink, and white blooms on each zig-zaggy stalks. 

Johnny Jump Ups: These cold-tolerant, edible Violas are some of the best blooms to welcome in spring.

Fall-planted flower bulbs: Daffodils, Tulips, Crocuses, and Hyacinths are just a few showy early-spring bloomers that are best planted now. Take a look at our fall flower bulb offerings here and planting instructions here.

strawflower-in-snow-480x6401At the other end of the spectrum for frost friendly flowers are the varieties which, although sensitive to cold as seedlings, bloom late in the season and maintain their looks after the first few frost. Calendula and Strawflowers are two great candidates for late-autumn and winter color. Calendula, a soothing and beautiful plant will begin blooming in August and continue producing flowers into late fall. The petals won't burn in the first few frosts of the season, leaving bright orange bursts in the pale fall garden landscape. Strawflowers feel like dried flowers as soon as their blossoms open. They act like preserved, dried flowers too, keeping their color and appearance deep into the winter and even under a snow load!

This blog is provided by the Hudson Valley Seed Library, a small group of dedicated growers and plant lovers working to provide good seed to gardeners and small farmers. Your purchases support our work. Thanks!