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Proctor's Garden: Unusual but easy plants from seed

Rob Proctor shares some unique yet low maintenance plants to round out your garden.

DENVER — Larkspur is related to delphinium but doesn't need staking. The intensely-blue flowers (or sometimes pink, lavender or white) appear in June. Sow the seed in fall. They germinate during winter. After they finish flowering in July, leave a few to go to seed and start the cycle again.

Clarkia, sometimes called farewell-to-spring, is named for William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition and is native to the Pacific Northwest. The pretty flowers may be pink, magenta, peach, purple or lavender. It's easy to grow from seeds sown in spring. High winds battered my plants around so I had to corral them with stakes and string.

Stock is a Mediterranean annual with pretty flowers with a great clove-like fragrance. I'm growing "column" stocks that are over two feet tall, more than double the height of what's available at nurseries. The color range includes lavender, pink, white and magenta. I also had to stake these due to high winds.

'Bull's blood' beets are an unusual heirloom variety of beets. The leaves are dark red and ornamental, although both the leaves and beets are edible. These beets can be grown in the ground or in pots. 

Silybum is a relative of artichoke. The prickly leaves are mottled with silver and the bee-pleasing flowers are purple. This annual can also be grown in the ground or in pots. Let a few flowers go to seed for new plants the following year. 

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