They say that in the universe, there are cosmic connections. When a person will come into your life to help you develop and grow, creating a relationship, whether short or long term, that brings meaning to your life. I believe that plants can affect your life as well, and the links you create with them will help you develop and grow as a gardener. It turns out that Cosmos is just such a plant for me.
I was a newbie plant caretaker when I discovered the flowers, and I was anxious to succeed in my new hobby. I spotted the seed packets of these daisy-like flowers at the garden center and instantly became enamored with their beauty. The images on the packages showed delicate, lacy foliage with enchanting little flowers. I was determined to give growing them a try and was astonished when, by scattering the seeds on my prepared garden bed, I could get beautiful results with little fuss. Success with Cosmos was monumental in my development as a gardener, coming into my life when I needed to gain confidence. Since that first growing experience, other plants on my garden journey have also helped me develop and grow as a gardener. Some have challenged me to become a better caretaker, and others have taught me how to learn from failure. Plants can be excellent teachers.
I have since discovered that Cosmos can be either an herbaceous perennial or an annual that belong to the Asteraceae family, the same family as the daisy, aster, and sunflower. Most home gardeners are more familiar with growing them as annuals, with Cosmos sulphureus and Cosmos bipinnatus being most common. While they are usually not winter hardy, many will readily self-seed, making for a happy surprise the following season. Their Genus name comes from the Greek word “kosmos,” which means “harmony,” or “beautiful,” and they have come to represent love and peace. How appropriate, as they are so easy to love.
Cosmos are fantastic at attracting pollinators and beneficial insects, making them ideal for wildflower mixes and naturalizing. Most Cosmos flowers are open, providing easy access for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. They attract many beneficial insects, including parasitic wasps, hoverflies, tachinid flies, and lacewings. These insects will help manage pests in your garden and pollinate your plants. Cosmos themselves are relatively pest-free and low maintenance.
They bloom continuously for many months and make excellent cut flowers for bouquets, coming in many different varieties and colors that you can swoon over. Flowers can boast bold orange, yellow, or red hues or be more subtle in white and various shades of pink. Petals can be decorated with delicate rings of a darker shade or stripped as if the garden fairies got creative with a paintbrush. Some have double blooms making them look more like pom-poms than flowers (perhaps they can be the cheerleaders of the garden), others resemble seashells, and still, others are akin to cups and saucers, as if invited to a fairy tea party. So many beautiful varieties to choose from, I think I’ll try some of each! After all, I need to nurture my Cosmos connection.
I watch these delicate little flowers blow softly in the breeze in the garden, dancing to nature’s tune. Periodically a butterfly or bee will flit down and join the bloom in its dance, and when the tango is over, they gather the pollen and bring it to another party. All of these tiny dancers make themselves right at home in my garden. Their cheery faces make me smile every time I lay eyes on them. Now that years have gone by, and I have gained more knowledge and experience, I still find myself sowing Cosmos in my garden every year. They continue to hold that connection, that Cosmos connection. Next time you’re in your garden, ask yourself which plants you have a cosmic connection with, the answer might surprise you.