First I’d like to apologize to those of you who have tried to reach me by email and I haven’t responded. I had been having lots of email trouble beginning in December. So I have a new email address: [email protected]. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this has caused, and I hope you’ll  re-email me with your questions or comments at my new address.
    
I got such a great response from my last column on my 10 favorite flowers to grow that I thought I’d write this time about 10 varieties I’ve tried and rejected.

1.)  Lychnis – I’ve concluded that basically it’s the whole family of these that I won’t grow again. Lychnis viscaria, which is mostly shades of pink, is certainly pretty, but barely tall enough to cut and the stems are very sticky. Maltese cross, which I tried because it’s red (and we all need more red flowers in our repertoires) isn’t sticky, but the individual flowers in the head can get to looking really bad while you wait for the rest of the buds in the head to open. I had this trouble with the Sweet dianthus series last summer too, and who has the time to stand around and clean up flower heads?
2.)  Linaria – I’ve lost track of which one of these I have, but its common name is butter and eggs. It looks like miniature orange and yellow snaps on an 18” stem. It’s fun to use but it really spreads,  both by reseeding and underground.  I can’t imagine I’ll ever totally get rid of it. Ease of cutting is not one of its strong suits either. I did grow some of the other varieties a few years ago, which are annuals in my zone. I liked the look of them, very delicate looking, but not worth the space for what  you got .
3.)  German statice – There’s nothing really wrong with this flower other than it’s just gone out of style.  Only one of my florists buys it and I sell a few dried bunches at the market, otherwise it’s not very sellable. Easy to grow, very hardy, and reseeds a little, but I finally pulled out most of what I had inorder to plant something that makes more money .
4.)  Salpiglossis – I really like this one in bouquets;  it has such a different look with its veined petals.  It’s another one with sticky stems, though, and very time consuming to cut. Sometimes I have trouble germinating this one too. The individual flowers don’t last long , but there are several buds on each stem which continue to open.       
5.)   Didiscus – This is another great flower, white or colored pink or blue, like mini queen Anne’s lace. But it is no fun to cut; takes too much time. There are lots of stems on one plant, all of which never seem to be ready enough so I can just cut the whole plant at once like I do with asters, so you have to take the time to figure out which ones to snip off. Too time   consuming! This one has to be netted too, or it falls over and the stems grow crooked.
6.)  Cleome – I grew this for the first time last summer. It sold like hot cakes at first, even with a warning about the little thorns it has. What a dramatic look those big flowers have! The strange
residue it leaves on your hands wasn’t a deterrent at first either, but by the end of the summer it had apparently worn out its welcome and I wasn’t selling much of it. It produces like crazy, has good vase life and I haven’t totally decided not to grow it again. I’d appreciate feedback from others on your experience with this one.
7.)  Talinum – ‘ Kingswood Gold’ or Jewels of Opar.  Another pretty one with a distinctive look: grown not for the flowers, but the little dark red seedballs. I never knew quite when to cut this one, sooner than later I think because there’s a tendency for the little balls to fall off if it’s too far along. Not sure it’s worth the space to grow it.
8.)  Chrysanthemum segetum – This one has a heliopsis or yellow daisy look with brown centers. When I bought the seed, I thought “Perhaps they will look like mini sunflowers.”  Not exactly. These had a pretty narrow cutting window or they looked brown and old. Very prolific bloomers,  though.
9.)  Verbascum – These come in such nice colors, stems are good height, and a nice fragrance too. The problem is when you cut them all the petals fall off! I find if I cut them the day before I want to use them, let all the petals fall off, clean up the water, let the new buds open, then the petals will stay on. The stems look nice in bouquets, but I ‘d never try to sell them to a florist. These will reseed, but not to the point of being invasive, and I’m slowly pulling them out as I come across them. They’re one of the first things that bloom for me, so they’re nice to have for those early market bouquet sales when pickings are kind of slim.
10.)  Pentzia – Also know as gold button. The very pleasant fragrance drew me to this one. Again a really different look in bouquets; it really is as cute as a button. I find it never really gets tall enough to cut for larger bouquets and as with most of the varieties in this report , it’s very time consuming to cut. Because of the thin stems it’s kind of hard to work with. The buttons are only 1/4” to 1/2” across, so it’s not very showy either.

Watch for more news on the Midwest Regional meeting to be held Sunday,  July 9th and Monday July 10th. We’ll be visiting several farms in the Lawrence, Kansas area including Lynn Byczynski of Growing For Market fame.  It’s always hard to find a central location that suits everyone for these meetings, but I hope you’ll plan now to take a a mid-season break to refresh your spirits with other fellow growers. There’s always plenty to learn and a lot of work goes into getting farms ready for visitors. I hope you’ll take advantage of the fun opportunities the ASCFG offers you to learn more about flower growing.