As we head into the dog days of summer, the old fashioned orange cosmos becomes one of the most revered flowers. Botanically speaking it is Cosmos sulphureus and is a drought-tolerant member of the aster family from Mexico and Central America. Since we grow it as an annual, this gives basically the whole country the option of firing up the landscape.
If you haven’t looked at your garden center lately you will be surprised at how the flowers have changed. It is almost like they are glowing embers of fire, with shades of orange and golden yellow.
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Norman Winter is executive director of the Columbus Botanical Garden, Columbus, Ga., and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations Color and Style in the Garden.”