Friday, July 11, 2008
Mexican Aster (Cosmos bipinnatus)
There was some seed left over from last year that I found in March and just mixed up some Celosia, Marigolds and Cosmos and spread it over the Bearded Iris area. The Cosmos is the only one that really took although there are a few Marigolds coming along now. It is one of the driest parts of the garden and there is no irrigation in that area. The couple of different Alliums and Lychnis have been happily seeding themselves in that bed for years now and sometimes it is difficult to find the Iris.
Cosmos has 20 to 25 species (depending on who you listen to) that are mostly native to Mexico. It was another of the plants that was found to be fashionable in Victorian times. Breeding has taken a lot of the initial problems out of the plant and it is now available in all sorts of heights and colors. They attract butterflies and make an excellent cut flower. I like the shorter growing varieties as they seem to be much more manageable but find most all Cosmos to be beautiful. Pinching seems to help with the height issue and I often cut the plants back after their first wave of blooms. The lack of water seems to have stunted these a bit as this flower was about 10 inches tall. That was ok with me.