Sunflower make great additions to children's gardens because they grow tall and the seeds are edible.
Choose an all-white garden that has only plants with pale blooms and dusky grey foliage; a moon garden with plants that bloom and release their scent after dusk; a children’s garden filled with fun and odd-looking plants; a Native American garden showcasing the plants of America’s indigenous people, or a cat’s garden filled with different kinds of catnip and cat grass.
Plants to Try
Tropical White Morning Glory (Ipomea alba)
A perfect choice for a moon garden (it’s commonly referred to as moonflower), this tropical flower blooms from summer to the first frost, opening its buds and releasing its fragrance at dusk
annual or tender perennial; USDA zones 9 to 11
South American Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)
This annual blooms mid-summer to first frost. Because nicotiana was used as a sacred and medicinal herb, it is a good plant to include in a Native American garden. Because its sweet scent is revealed at night, it is also ideal for a moon garden.
annual; USDA zones 5 to 11
Sunflower (Helianthus L.)
This easy-to-grow annual is a good bet for a children’s garden. The large seed of the Mammoth Russian makes it easy for little fingers to hold and plant. Children will enjoy seeing how tall the plants can grow—up to 10 feet. The seeds are also edible. Note: Sunflower stems and leaves can cause skin irritations so wear gloves when harvesting and handling.
annual; hardy to zone 7
About the Author: Sharon Biggs Waller is a freelance writer and hobby farmer based in northwestern Indiana. She has several themed gardens of her own, including a scented garden and an apothecary garden. She’s the author of The Original Horse Bible (BowTie Press, 2011) and blogs at www.sharonbiggswaller.com.
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2011 issue of Hobby Farm Home.