These hollyhocks I planted from seedlings that I bought at the monthly farmer's market. They were a lot cheaper than the nursery seedlings. I try to buy a few punnets of annual flowers each month from the proceeds of my cheese sales. Hollyhocks are perennial, dying back in Winter and then shooting up again after the frosts are gone. This makes them a once off purchase that continues to bring delight.
Hollyhocks and Day Lilies are apparently edible, not that I've tried yet. The Day Lilies keep on blooming for many months of the year and are so rewarding. They too were already here before us. Like the agapanthus flowers, they can be divided and propagated without further expense.
I sowed many, many sweet pea and poppy seeds in early Spring. They have brought wonderful splashes of colour to the garden. I am saving their seeds again for next year. I hope to swap some of my pink sweet pea seeds for my friend's purple seeds so that we can have more variety of colour next year.
I tried growing fox gloves from seed. A few of them are flowering, but I have a long way to go in getting the best from my seed packets.
I think the best thing for me to do is to collect seeds from the flowers that do the best in the garden, and continue to sow them until I can learn which plants are best suited to this climate. I want to create a garden that brings delight all year round. I have been cutting out helpful articles from old gardening magazines and jotting down notes in my gardening file. One of the best colour combinations in this year's Summer garden has been the red poppies next to blue cornflowers. I adore the depth of blue in the cornflowers. There are some planted outside my study window and I often catch myself just sitting and gazing at them. I have also started keeping a record of what is flowering each month so that I can plant complementary flowers to enhance what is already here.