Updated: Oct 6, 2022
We have this term, "mountain air-conditioning." All mountain-raised folks know that you open your windows at night, and shut them in the the morning to keep the cool air trapped in your home. This action alone can keep a well-insulated home feeling like the AC is running (even when it's not) during the hot summer months. This cooling-off-at-night effect gives us an amazing "Cool Flower" advantage. Cool flowers, not as in "awesome", but more like chilly-temp- loving. Though I suppose they are awesome too!
The term "Cool Flowers," coined by Lisa Maison Ziegler in her book Cool Flowers, describes a group of hardy
annual flowers which when Fall planted will over-winter and come up earlier and stronger in the Spring. She cites the wisdom of our grandmothers who knew what flowers to sow in the Fall and this knowledge is just being rekindled. After reading her book last winter I took notice this past Spring and saw that my Bells of Ireland, which had reseeded in the fall, were earlier and more vigorous than my Spring planted ones! I also noticed similar results with Snapdragons and Bachelor Buttons in our area. Those that reseeded themselves in the fall and overwintered were the first to come up and the most healthy.
It can be a challenge to get the timing right, but this year we are giving it a shot with some of my favorites! I have a bed of Snapdragons going in as well as direct seeding Bachelor Buttons, Nigella, Bells of Ireland, Larkspur, Orlaya, and a few other trials. I've noticed how well these hardy annuals have thrived all Summer in our Mountain Climate because the cooling off at night effect keeps our soil temperatures low enough to allow them to thrive. I'll share my results in the Spring! Drop us a comment or email if you'd like to chat more about Cool Flowers.