GARDENING: Choosing your flower seeds? Read this first

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INTROSTILL undecided about which hardy annual flower seeds you’re growing this year? Here’s my top five pick...

 Mr Fothergill’s Californian Poppy Appleblossom Pink (Eschscholzia californica) is easy to grow, loves full sun and will happily seed itself around.

 Its beautiful blooms are rose-pink, doubles over neat, tufted foliage, growing just 20cm/8in.They cost £2.20 a packet for 200 seeds, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

 If you like sweet peas but don’t know which colour to grow, try this Sweet Pea Growers Propagator Kit from Unwins – and save £19.85!

 They are all varieties suitable for cutting and will flower well in full sun.

 The package contains; one propagator lid, one propagator base,12x9 cell trays, 12 capillary mats, two bags of seed compost, 12 labels, one pen, one sweet pea book, one sweet pea feed, one micro snips and four packets of sweet pea seeds – Cupid Mix, Old Fashioned Mix, Unwins Special Choice Mix and Sweet Pea Rhapsody Mix.

 The full set costs £19.95, available from www.unwins.co.uk.

 The Bishop’s Flower, or Bishop’s weed, has become very popular with the trend for floaty, umbellifer-style flowers.

 Chiltern Seeds offers Ammi visnaga Casablanca, which is is earlier to bloom and the flowers grow in a more uniform manner.

 There’s no side shoots, making it ideal for cutting. The large umbrella-like, clear white flowers grow tall and straight, as if standing to attention, on strong, attractive feathery stems, to 1.2m/4ft, £2.30 per packet, www.chilternseeds.co.uk.

 Simply Seed has a great pansy mix called Hot Volcano, with clear orange and purple, plus orange blotched faces, 35 seeds for £1.75, from www.simplyseed.co.uk. Free P&P on packet-only orders over £10.

 Finally, you couldn’t have a list of hardy annuals without calendula! 

 Kings Seeds stock Gypsy Festival, dwarf, compact plants with bright green foliage topped by large flowers in shades from cream to deep orange.

 Height 30cm, £1.35, from www.kingseeds.com.

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