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Stupid question?

Good morning, this is probably a really very basic gardening issue with an obvious answer, but I don't have the experience to figure it out! 

I wanted to grow sunflowers this year so sowed the seeds at the back of the border, figuring that that was the sensible place to put tall flowers.  They grew-spindly at first then withered up and died ???? I also gave some seeds to my children to plant where they wanted-they chose right at the front of the garden, full sun by a tree-they are now strong and mighty ???? But they do look a bit out of place...

So, my question is-how do you grow tall plants properly so that they both thrive and look right? I want to grow Veronica and echinops next year but these are both tall, they need to go at the back but don't want them to suffer the same fate as my sunflowers!



  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,462

    You won't have quite the same problem with Echinops and Veronica as they are both perennials and grow differently. They form a good root system and have leaves nearer ground level and it is only the flower stems that grow tall.

    You will need to start them under cover, prick out into individual pots and grow on, probably potting on again to get strong plants for your border. Not all perennials flower in their  first  year either, so you may have few or no flowers. But it should all pay off the following year and is a great way to get a lot of plants for a small financial outlay. You do need a good stock of patience though!

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    I agree, start them off in a seed tray, transfer to pots and grow on until they are relatively large plants before putting them at the back of your border.  You will get much better plants and can more easily protect them from the bane of all gardeners, slugs & snails.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • If they are perennial it will be worth it, they pretty much look after themselves after that don't they?! I will start them off as early as poss next spring. Thanks very much, the slugs and snails did enjoy feasting on my weakly sunflowers...

  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

    You can start some perennials in September or October. .......often they wil flower in the Summer 

  • Ah ok, thanks Mary. I have a small unheated greenhouse, will they survive in there over the winter do you think?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    They will be fine in there, Elspeth.  In addition I use a cold frame and when I run out of room put them by the side of the house which keeps the worst of the weather off.  Perennials are pretty tough but don't like to be waterlogged over the winter - keep the compost damp but not wet after they have died down.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks Bob, will give it a shot image

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