Sunflowers can take anywhere between 50 and 100 days from sowing to flowering, depending on the variety (the dwarf varieties are the quickest to mature), so you can sow these cheerful plants right throughout summer. Sow directly or in trays for transplanting later. Find a spot that gets at least six hours of directly sunlight a day, as plants in low light will grow spindly. Bear in mind too that the heads of sunflowers will follow the sun. If planting in the ground, plant them where you will see the blooms (not their backs) when fully mature. For a succession of flowers throughout summer and autumn, sow a few seeds each fortnight.
Ptilotus exaltatus is an Aussie wildflower that produces large conical spikes of feathery flowers. Coming from Australia, it’s heat and drought tolerant, although in its natural habitat it flowers best after good autumn and winter rains. Recently it’s received a lot of attention in the cut flower industry because it’s great for picking. Use it for both fresh and dried arrangements. Seeds are best sown from October to December for optimum growth. From Egmont Seeds.
Angelonias are often called summer snapdragons because they look like snapdragons (antirrhinums) but are more heat and drought tolerant (although they still like a bit of water every now and then). They’re also perennials, whereas antirrhinums are annuals. They produce spikes of pink, purple or white flowers that last about 10 days in a vase, so they’re well worth planting in the picking garden. Choose from a selection of colours available from Egmont Seeds.