Don't get too swept away by seed catalogs

Touring a landscape with countless foxgloves in peak bloom is an experience not to be forgotten. I'll also never forget when the owner glibly announced it was created for less than $5 in seeds.

Suddenly, admiration turned into pure jealousy. That much beauty for pennies!

But at least she had the trouble of growing them in her greenhouse. Jealousy demanded that she suffer somewhat, even if it was just in nurturing her investment.

It's time to start thinking about tossing seeds in your garden now to ensure a few flowers bloom next summer.

Reality isn't a seed packet with beautiful photography and words of enticement so magnificent your brain flips back to honest 8-year-old delight, and beliefs.

Do you really think your blooms are going to look as good as those on the packet? Remember, there is reality, and there is seed packet marketing.

Reality does allow for seduction by seed packet, though. How else will you acquire seeds?

Scatter your seeds expecting, perhaps, 5 percent to germinate and bloom. There is nothing so fabulous as having at least one seed in your packet germinate and bloom.

Purveyors of seeds know a single flower from your own efforts is far superior to a meadow of flowers belonging to someone else. Seed packets contain future blooms, sure, but also desire, hope and anticipation.

Buy your seeds and scatter them now. Scattering seems to work best where mulch is getting thin, close to where it meets pathways or a lawn. Bare soil is to be avoided because it is too crusty when dry.

And that's it. No further to-do list for your seed scattering. This should fit nicely with anyone's hectic schedule. You'll spend more time culling the seed packets for purchase than time scattering them.

Choosing seeds is an occupation of delight. So many landscape chores include sweat, bruises, tired muscles and even blood. No wonder seed catalogs are to be savored.

A few seeds to toss include peony poppies, cleome, vinca, celosia, zinnia, purple cone flower, foxglove, verbena bonariensis, woodland poppy, batchelor button and the single-petaled holly hocks. After the first year, if you do have some flowers bloom, let them go to seed and you won't have to buy another seed packet.

It's fun experiencing where providence puts your future blooms. Often it's in locations far better than you could have planned. Another benefit to tossing seeds is their drought tolerance compared with the same flowers bought from a nursery and planted.

If you buy all of the seeds listed above and only one flower germinates from the entire group, don't fret. It's fine. That single flower will fill your soul as completely as a meadow.

Tara Dillard designs, installs and writes about gardens. E-mail her at taradillard@agardenview.biz.