Best of the 2011 Test Garden: Flowers

The Best Flowers from Organic Gardening's 2011 Test Garden

Doug Hall February 23, 2012

In the Organic Gardening Test Garden’s first year at a new location, we started small: Our plot measured only 40 feet by 50 feet. Even so, we managed to squeeze in a few flowers.

Tassel flower (Emilia javanica)

The unassuming tassel flower won us over with its demure charm. The tiny “tassels” nod and sway on slender stems, like little grace notes among the bigger and showier flowers in the garden. We hope this self-seeding annual makes a repeat appearance next year.

Source: Select Seeds

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‘Coconut Ice’ Sunflower

With pale ivory petals surrounding near-black centers, ‘Coconut Ice’ will look you in the eye from atop plants that grow 5 to 6 feet tall. “It makes you happy to see it,” one of our test gardeners reported.

Source: Burpee

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‘Summer Jewel Red’ Salvia

Scarlet is one of those assertive flower colors you either love or hate. Judging by their attraction to this annual salvia, hummingbirds come down firmly on the side of “love.” Compact and always in bloom.

Source: All-America Selections winner; widely available

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‘Black Knight’ Sweet Scabious

Although the dusky maroon blooms don’t catch the eye from afar, they’re dramatically intriguing up close. This 3-foot-tall annual blooms from summer until frost. Plant it in your butterfly border—or your goth garden.

Source: Select Seeds

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‘Frilly’ Sunflower

Our test gardeners were split on this new sunflower’s merits. Some found beauty in its shaggy, informal flowers, while to others it suggested Van Gogh on a bad day. An annual, ‘Frilly’ grows about 5 feet tall with 6-inch flowers.

Source: Burpee

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‘Arizona Apricot’ Gaillardia

This cheerful, free-flowering blanket flower offers a sunny gold alternative to the usual candy-corn colors of gaillardias. Some gaillardias are perennials, other annuals; time will tell for ‘Arizona Apricot’.

Source: All-America Selections winner; widely available

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Read More: Best of the 2011 Test Garden—Tomatoes.

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