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Digital Subscriptions > Your Home Magazine > July 2016 > Captivating Cosmos

Captivating Cosmos

It’s time to take a fresh look at this star of the garden

Although a familiar face in cottage gardens and allotment plots, the merits of Cosmos are often underplayed. However, as 2016 has been named Year of the Cosmos by Fleuroselect (the international organisation for the ornamental plants industry), it is finally able to enjoy its moment in the sun.

The benefits of this summer staple are manifold, primarily it’s very easy to grow, making it ideal for novice or nervous gardeners. It’s not particularly fussy, as long as it’s in a sunny spot it will tolerate poor soils and dry weather, perfect for those who aren’t terribly good at regular watering. Cosmos flowers are also very attractive to pollinators, making them a great addition to allotment and vegetable plots. Yet its biggest selling point has to be the sheer volume of blooms it can produce in one season, with some varieties beginning to flower as early as May and continuing through to the first frosts in October. Meaning that, with a spot of deadheading, you can have a garden full of colour at very little cost, as well as a steady stream of cut flowers all summer long.

Growing Cosmos from seed is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to fill any gaps in your borders. You can either sow undercover in spring then plant out once any chance of frosts has passed, or sow directly in the soil once you are confident you won’t experience any more cold snaps. Alternatively, if you’d rather skip this step, many seed companies and garden centres sell a good selection of plug plants, allowing you to just pop them in a pot or the flower bed and watch them flourish in no time.

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I’m hoping that as you read this the sun is shining and you’re sitting out in the garden and getting truly into the summer spirit. But knowing how fickle our weather can be, you may be sat on the sofa watching the rain on the window pane. I hope it’s the former not the latter! Anyway, we’re looking on the bright side in this issue and have packed it with lots of feel-good summer ideas for you and your home. On page 44 we take a look at the latest barbecues and outdoor pizza ovens to make your summer get-togethers go with a swing. While on page 100 we’ve put together some zingy recipes that make the most of summer’s refreshing citrus flavours (the citrus-marinated lamb steaks are ideal for popping on your barbie!). The seaside is a big trend on the high street this summer, so on page 20 we explain how to give your décor a classic nautical feel, and on page 54 we’ve pulled together a whole host of affordable finishing touches to give your bathroom a relaxing coastal look. We’ve even got a gorgeous sparkling fish cushion project on page 64 to complete the watery theme! If you love being in the garden at this time of year, turn to page 114 to discover this year’s hero plant, the Cosmos, it’s so easy to grow and provides oodles of flowers to cut for the house. Finally, you must try making our gorgeous garden veg-inspired table decorations on page 60, they’ll make the ideal finishing touch to your summer garden parties.
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