Not all the wonderful hardy flowers of winter and spring are small little things that hug and hide on the ground for warmth, some are really big boys who seem to be fearless in the face of all the winter rain, cold and icy winds that comes their way.
Yet they will reward handsomely the gardener who recognizes their heroic qualities by providing extra drainage. Also shelter and wind protection or staking. Tallest of this group is the sweet pea (lathyris) which can reach 3 meters(lOft.) if given perfect conditions. And those conditions are: a warm, sheltered, very sunny spot with a very free draining soil, deeply rich in compost and/or minerals and heaps of lime (best provided through dolomite).
If a general plant food is used try to avoid those high in nitrogen as sweet pea resents this, preferring to make its own from nodules on it’s roots. A trellis or similar support must be provided although the new hybrid dwarf varieties that reach only 1 meter will require only minimal staking.
Cornflower (centaurea) is a favorite among florists and those who cherish cut flowers. Gardeners wanting showy garden plants often overlook cornflower because the plants can look a bit large and weedy until one examines the lovely long-stemmed blooms they produce in abundance for many months.
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