Following on from Where do I start?
You need something that has seeds big enough to see and handle easily. Something that will germinate easily into a sturdy and robust plant. Something which will not keel over and die when transplanted into the garden and is not overly fussy about soil type. For me, the flowers which fit this bill are undoubtedly sunflowers. They tick all those boxes and develop lots of seeds to feed garden birds through the winter – brilliant! Sunflowers even look just like flowers that children draw – a big middle with petals all around.
Now is the ideal time. Sunflowers can be sown directly into ground during late May and June.
The only problem with sunflowers is that there are actually many different types. How do you choose the right one? Here are a few thoughts on sunflowers. There are giant types in excess of 3m tall (the current world record holder grew to 9.17m!). These are fun to grow but you don’t see much of the flowers. At the end of the season you will be left with a hefty stalk to dispose of, which is not as easy as it sounds because they are tough as old boots. Medium height varieties grow to around 1-1.5m tall and make ideal plants for the back of a border. The flowers are just the right height for children to watch the development from bud to seed. Look out for branching varieties which produce more than one flower at a time then some can be cut to decorate the house too. Dwarf varieties grow less than 1m tall and can be grown quite nicely in pots or in the garden. The flowers tend to be smaller than the other two, but they are still pretty and well worth growing.
So go on, grab a seed kit and get growing!