The world "cosmos" means balanced universe. If you are a little nerdy, as I was and may still be, you possibly remember the television show by Carl Sagan called Cosmos: A Personal Voyage back in the 1980's. I tended to get crushes on nerds back then and Carl Sagan was fascinating to me, even though he sometimes seemed to talk as if he had marbles in his mouth. He just knew so much! The new 2014 science show called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a spin-off and presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson (a really cool name) who is that teddy bear guy who is also an astrophysicist(!) with the bedroom eyes. If I was younger I would probably have a crush on him right now. He also has a radio show called Star Talk.
This post has nothing to do with the television shows above but is does have something to do with their title. It is about my own cosmos, the one in the Heliantheae (sunflower) Tribe. I grow mine in a separate flower bed, because they tend to reseed and take over. I have the common orange and a few volunteers of the sunny yellow, but the last to bloom with the most delicate leaves is the maroon one from new seeds I planted this year. It struggles for sunlight against the other 5 foot high plants. There are many varieties of cosmos and most come from Mexico. There is even a cosmos that smells like chocolate! I do not have that one. Some of these fun flowers are double petaled like mine below.
The seeds must be collected as they are not winter-hardy in my area, so I replant them in the spring. I also do not have the 8-10 hours of sun because I live in the woods, but I grow them anyway and they tend to get tall...
very tall. Remember the translation of their name means 'balanced universe.' They do seem to grow with the flowers in orderly proportions like the expanding universe. They are drought tolerant, easy to grow, good for poor soils, do self seed, can be cut for vases although flowers do not last beyond a week, and they can create a bed of "cosmic" proportions. You might want to try them.
Above is my flower bed with a volunteer sunflower or two. These orange flowers are behind a wire fence to keep the bunnies and groundhogs at bay, but the plants have long since pushed through that barrier. If I would have pinched them back in June, they would not have gotten so tall and maybe had more flowers, but lesson learned for next year. I think below is our Painted lady, Vanessa cardui, visiting my cosmos...I am not an expert on butterflies. They make a nice couple, though.