Outstanding Annuals: Cosmos

This bright flower is one of my favorites.  Words to describe?  Light, delicate, ruffled, tissue-paper, soft and cheerful.  I like the contrast of the wide smooth petals with the fine, feathery foliage.  The best part is the blooms continue all summer and into the fall.  Such great value at so little a price.  The plants in the photo above I purchased for just under $2.00 each.  That’s how much people spend on a soda, a big candy bar, a hot drink, a movie rental from redbox, a pack of gum, a newspaper, or sadly 1/2 gallon of gas.  Most of our two dollar purchases are quickly enjoyed and then forgotten.  Not Cosmos.  It hangs out all summer, dazzling our gardens and showing off the sound financial investment you made.  This annual, Cosmos bipinnatus is native to tropical America and comes in shades of white, pink, rose, lavender, purple, orange or crimson.  The flowers come in many forms as well, single, double, crested or frilled.  The variety ‘seashell’ has fluted petals which form little tubes, but I’m trying to decide which seashell they resemble, perhaps a beautiful mollusc from Mexico or a spiny sea urchin.  See any resemblance?

  

For sunny orange color, try ‘Cosmic Orange’, ‘Polidor’ or ‘Diablo’. I love the scent of chocolate cosmos, which is a sometimes perennial here in the Northwest.  On a warm sunny day this dark purple flower will make you think you’re in Hershey, Pennsylvania and brownies are baking just around the corner.  All cosmos want full sun and good drainage, so find a good spot and invest in this fair flower!

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