Oh fickle customers - they do seem to snap up whatever is blooming in the six-packs in the spring, and bypass the “starts” that are still green. I am at fault too, as I should whip up some nice POP (point of purchase) posters to show folks what they will be missing. Every year I offer some “hard-to-find” annuals, and every year I end up with most of them still on the shelves by mid-summer.
For example, blue didiscus (below.) It’s kind of like a smaller version of the white queen anne’s lace, very pretty as a filler in summer bouquets.
Lavatera comes in various shades of pink and a shorter white version and once it starts blooming it is loaded with hibiscus like flowers and makes for a great cut flower. This time of year I am cutting lavatera every day.
Sanvitalia procumbens ("creeping zinnia") is great for hot dry areas.
Tithonia (“Mexican Sunflower”) is a nice splash of color for the summer garden. The stems are hollow and it is not good for bouquets, but it is a show stopper.
While rudbeckia (black-eyed susan) can be a fine perennial (I think the best is 'goldsturm'), there are also many nice rudbeckias that I grow as annuals, including ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Prairie Sun,’ ‘Tiger Eye,’ and the ‘Toto’ series. Next year I will offer ‘Cherry Brandy,’ the first red-flowered black-eyed susan grown from seeds.
I have always thought it would be a good idea to have a “Gourmet Corner” in one greenhouse for the hard-to-find flowers. Maybe This will happen "next year”?