Grown from Seed: Blanket Flower

So, being new to gardening, I’m always thrilled each time a new seed germinates.  The idea that something amazing and beautiful could grow from something so tiny is miraculous every single time I see it.

But even more amazing to me is when that tiny little seed becomes a big, gorgeous plant!

Last year we planted Gaillardia seeds.  By the end of the summer they were just small plants – no bigger than six inches tall and green.  I transplanted them into my butterfly garden in a small clump and went indoors for the winter.

Yesterday the very first bloom opened.  They are tall (probably 2 feet tall) and gorgeous, healthy looking plants.  They are in afternoon shade so they’ve taken a bit longer to flower than the other patch of them we have but that other patch was started from nursery plants.  This patch is completely from seed and that’s thrilling to me.  Something that cost us just a couple dollars produced this mass of gorgeous plants with just a little care and patience.  Totally worth it.  If we can exercise that sort of patience on a repeat basis we will surely have a garden full of flowers in years to come.  That’s exciting news for me because plants are so expensive to purchase at the nursery – especially in quantity – and especially when we tend to lose so many of those plants in the first season.  Every new bloom is encouragement to keep going!

Now I must type this… I know that blanket flower is one of the easiest to grow.  No need to giggle at my novice skills.  Everyone has to start somewhere and these “easy” flowers are such blessings for inspiring us newbies to keep moving forward and learning and growing.  Thank goodness for the easy seeds!!

For those of you who are in the mid-atlantic and needing some simple success I’ve had good luck in my first year with the following:

Coreopsis (early sunrise)




Common Milkweed (needs cold stratification)

Butterfly Weed (although it’s still not yet blooming in it’s 2nd year… hoping it blooms later this summer)


This year I’m trying quite a few more and will report on how it goes.  So far so good – the following have sprouted in my window this week!

Dwarf Joe Pye Weed (cold stratified and collected from my nursery-grown plant)

Swamp Milkweed (cold stratified – seed given to me by a friend)

Butterfly Weed (cold stratified – seed given to me by a friend who collected it from her garden)

Coreopsis Moonbeam (I think it’s moonbeam – a threadleaf variety… it was still on the plant this spring when I went to cut back the dead growth so I collected and started it in a flat – have one sprout this morning after just a few days)

Cleome (cold stratified though not clear if it needed to be… collected from family and given to me by a friend – two sources)

Purple Coneflower (from seed pack)


and I still have a few more varieties of seeds in the fridge not quite yet ready to plant… starting a “nursery bed” in our field next to my row of common milkweed… hoping to be able to plant in abundance and share with neighbors!

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