Cosmos on my mind




It’s been a hot and humid July week.  Any delusions I had of enjoying a cool, temperate summer have evaporated into the extreme humidity.  However, on the bright side, flowers are bursting out everywhere I look around Blithewold.  I’m particularly excited for the Cosmos that are beginning to bloom in our new trial bed at the top of the meadow.  You may recall that I mentioned back in May that we are trialing about a dozen new Cosmos varieties this year.  Here are a few of them:



They are a sight I am always happy to see — their faces turned up to the sun as they sway gently with the breeze sweeping through the meadow.  I also appreciate the color variation that occurs within each kind.  ‘Velouette’, for example, showcases everything from dark red to muted pale brick with many levels of striation in between.  We have several more types that have yet to open.  I’m looking forward to catching sight of ‘Rose Bonbon’, ‘Snow Puff’, ‘Pink Popsocks’, and ‘Double Click Mix’.  Cosmos ‘Chocamocha’, or Chocolate Cosmos, is a favorite of ours.  It is currently blooming in the Rose Garden along the path from the Visitors Center to the Moon Gate.  Chocolate Cosmos are long-blooming plants when deadheaded on a regular basis, which is one reason we love them.  They also have a wonderful scent.  So, next time you are here be sure to stop and sniff these pretty little flowers (hint: they smell like their namesake).  Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ is blooming in the North Garden.  The pale yellow flowers are edged in white, giving them just enough definition to stand out amidst many other lovely plants.


We would have none of these blooms if it weren’t for the help of our intrepid volunteers.  On the first of June, we gathered our Wednesday volunteers together and planted all of the Cosmos in the newly prepared planting space at the top of the meadow.  Last year, we pulled weeds and put down layers of cardboard and leaves on the site.  This year our intern Sean dug out any new weeds in the bed (there were still weeds despite our best efforts to suppress them) and prepped the soil for planting.  My records show that it was 78 degrees and sunny on the day of planting.  There were definitely dreams of dancing Cosmos in my head as we planted and labeled all of the different kinds.  I am so happy to see them blooming now.  I hope you come and see them for yourself!  I already have aspirations for a whole section of Cosmos ‘Velouette’ at my house next year.

Are you trialing any new flowers in your garden?  Have you stopped to smell the Cosmos?  I hope you will!  As always, happy gardening!