August is a good time to think about sowing a range of vegetables, but you should also think about flower seeds to grace your garden next year. Many seeds can be sown now and overwintered for planting in spring, or direct sown in your garden. Many of the plants mentioned below can self-seed fairly reliably in the right conditions, but you can also collect seeds and take things into your own hands. Here are just some of the good options to consider:
Ammi Majus Flower Seeds
Ammi majus, or Queen Anne’s Lace, has pretty lacy white flowers. It is an annual which blooms over the summer months. It works well at the back of a sunny or partially shaded border, or around fruit trees. And is great for well-drained soil. The blooms attract beneficial insects like hoverflies, and are also popular for cut flower arrangements. These work well for wildlife gardens and cottage garden schemes.
You could also sow other umbellifers towards the end of this month, or in September. These plants have deep tap roots and so it can be a good idea to sow these where they are to grow.
Antirhimum, or Snap dragons, can also be sown in late summer or early autumn. The seeds should be collected and overwintered under glass before planting out in the spring. They will then flower from June through to around September next year. Seeds which are sown in August or September and overwintered under cover will produce bigger plants, which will flower earlier than those which are sown in the spring.
Sow into good quality potting medium then lightly cover, water, and pot on when they have their first true leaves. Harden off and plant out in a sunny, free draining location as soon as risk of frost has passed.
Calendulas are very easy to sow. They are hardy annuals which can be sown now for flowers in the late spring. Sow directly where they are to grow. A good spot to sow calendulas is in vegetable beds, where they will serve as excellent companion plants next year. They are fantastic for pollinator attraction and will also be fantastic for organic pest control in your vegetable garden.
Of course, these cheerful blooms can also be a great ornamental addition to other areas of your garden, and can look wonderful in many different garden schemes.
California poppies are another hardy annual (technically a short-lived perennial but usually grown as annuals in the UK) which can be direct sown in your garden in August or September. They look wonderful in wild and natural planting schemes, as well as in more orderly and regimented beds or borders.
These too are an excellent choice for a wildlife friendly and relatively low-maintenance garden. They will thrive even in areas with poor soil, and in hot, dry growing conditions. Plant in areas with good drainage, in full sun, for blooms over the summer months next year.
Cornflowers work well alongside calendulas and other cornfield meadow plants. These too can be sown in August or September where they are to grow, for beautiful (usually blue) blooms next year, from around May onwards.
Cornflowers are not only a beautiful annual flowering plant but are also another great choice for a wildlife-friendly garden. Sow some in an annual meadow scheme, or, again, consider sowing some in a vegetable garden as a companion crop.
Sowing field poppies is also something that you can consider doing at this time of year. Of course these work well alongside cornflowers and other annual meadow plants. Prepare the soil in the area, and sow poppies, perhaps alongside other meadow flowers. More poppies will be produced from an autumn sowing.
Poppies should flower between June and September, bringing bright splashes of beautiful though short-lived colour to your garden.
Forget-Me-Not Flower Seeds
Myosotis sylvatica are useful and attractive ground cover biennial plants for partial or dappled shade, or full sun, which will readily self seed. But you can also buy or save seeds and sow these out where they are to grow this month.
The beautiful, delicate blue flowers will appear between April and June. They are great for bees, lepidoptera and other pollinators and are perfect alongside tulips and other spring bulbs.
Larkspur Flower Seeds
Larkspur can also be a great choice for late summer/ early autumn sowing. Making a sowing of larkspur seeds at this time of the year will give you earlier flowers next spring. It may be helpful to leave larkspur seeds in the fridge for a week or so before sowing. Then sow where they are to grow and cover very lightly with soil. Sow in the last week of August or early September, or a little earlier if you live north of the Borders.
These flowers are tall and dramatic blooms which work very well towards the back of garden borders, where they add height and bright colour to flowering displays.
Nigella is another relatively easy to grow annual to consider sowing in late August or early September. The seeds can be collected and stored to sow in spring, but they can also be sown in late-summer/ early autumn in milder areas.
In optimal conditions, in full sun with well drained soil, the plants should self seed fairly reliably. Sow directly where they are to grow, covering with around 1cm of soil. They will bloom between June and August the following year.
Salvia viridis Flower Seeds
Clary sage seeds can be sown under cover in August or September, for overwintering in an unheated greenhouse or polytunnel and planting out in spring. Salvias can also sometimes be direct sown in August in milder gardens.
Salvias are wonderful for long-lasting blooms, and are another great plant for attracting pollinators, predatory insects, and other useful wildlife to your garden.
Of course, this is by no means a complete list. There are also plenty of other flower seeds to sow this month or next for a bloom-filled brilliant garden next year. Planning ahead for next year’s flowers is a great idea. So consider choosing and sowing some of the plants above, or other flowering plants in your garden this month or next.
Which flower seeds do you sow in your garden in August? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.