The Flower of the Year for 2017 is the zinnia, a glowingly colourful Mexican beauty that lights up your garden right through the summer. Sow from seed, or just drop by the garden centre here in Poynings and pick up young plants to grow on and plant out in your garden.
Zinnias are real head-turners, in shades from cream to magenta, scarlet and gold. Butterflies adore them, so they’re ideal for adding a splash of colour to a wildlife garden; they also make beautiful cut flowers with long, sturdy stems that hold up well in a vase. You can even dry the flowers for winter displays.
Lots of new varieties are being released this year alongside old favourites, so browse our seed racks and see what takes your fancy. Sow the seed shallowly, about 10-20cm apart, anytime from May until mid-June. They can go directly to the place where they’re to grow if it’s warm enough (at least 10°C at night), or into modules (not seed trays as they don’t like being pricked out) in a warm greenhouse or bright windowsill. They’ll be flowering by mid to late summer, blazing with colour until the first frosts if you dead-head them regularly. That’s what we call great value!