Sunday, June 19, 2016

Choca Mocha

First of all, how can you resist the name -- Choca Mocha. And the color -- rich velvety red.

Cosmos 'Choca Mocha' in my garden in 2013

It's supposed to smell like chocolate, but it doesn't. That's all right, I love this cosmos atrosanguineus for its color and texture and its small flowers at the end of bouncy stems.

I first planted this cosmos in 2013, not knowing what to expect, and I was charmed by its sprawling, low habit and beautiful red flowers. I planted it again in 2014, but last year I did not include it in my garden, and I missed the deep red summer flowers.

So this spring I thought I would try something similar: Painted tongue, or Salpiglossis 'Chocolate Royale'. Same idea -- a low plant with chocolate red flowers. It's also called stained glass flower.

Salpiglossis 'Chocolate Royale'

I got a packet of seeds of painted tongue, but when I opened the packet, there was nothing there, just a hint of dust at the bottom corner of a tiny plastic sleeve. Nicotiana seeds are so fine they look like dust, so I thought maybe these were an even finer type of seed.

Painted tongue, or stained glass flower

They have to germinate in the dark. I planted the nonexistent seeds -- basically I wafted the empty sleeve over some fresh potting soil -- and covered the container. But nothing.

What I can't figure out is whether Salpiglossis is a fine, dust-like seed, or whether my seed packet was empty. How stupid is that? But googling "Salpiglossis seeds" gives me lots of pretty pictures of the deep red flowers, but no info on what the seeds look like.

I am deeply suspicious that my seed packet was empty.

But not to worry. I quickly gave up on waiting for imaginary seed dust to sprout, and simply ordered plants of my old favorite, Cosmos 'Choca Mocha', from Avant Gardens.
Back to my reliable, beautiful 'Choca Mocha' cosmos

I won't be without deep red velvet textured chocolate colored flowers this summer.

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