You visited the Erie Basin Marina Gardens on Wednesday, so here is a closeup view of the Summer trial annuals. These annuals are being trialed under conditions that might be more trying on them. In your home garden, you may have less wind and heat.
The best time to plant annuals really depends on where you live. If the soil is still cool in Spring, you might try popping in:
- Cosmos like it a bit on the cool side too, but grown from seed, flower closer to Fall.
This grouping last as long as the sun is not too hot whereby they set seed and die back. The key is not planting either the cool or warm-season annuals too soon.
The warm-season annuals are usually much better in drought-like heat. Those I like…
My favorite perennials that take the heat are:
- Black-eyed Susan
- Blanket Flower
Thing about these though, they can act like annuals by seeding themselves or being short-lived perennials.
It is probably more important when planting annuals to make sure weeds are removed and soil is amended with compost and manure. Don’t skip this step. Annuals are more demanding than the shorter lived perennials listed above.
Annuals often need supplemental fertilizer because of the fast growth spurt needed to live their cycle. Most annuals are started in greenhouses in late winter or early spring, but when frost has passed, a number can be started from seed. Since they are started in a greenhouse, they are coming to you dependent on regular fertilization.
Something people often do wrong with annuals is improper or infrequent watering. In our dry summers, annuals and perennials have needed supplemental watering, especially when the sun was very hot.
What you are seeing in this post are annuals that went through last summer’s drought in the trial gardens. You might be seeing some of these pictured in your local nurseries this Summer.
It is a good sign bees are feeding. Some hybrids have little to offer.
Shade tolerant annuals are those that can live and grow in 6 to 4 hours of sun or less. Those I’ve grown include:
All annuals need some sun.
I will put my potted annuals in shade during periods of high heat and drought. They get a little late afternoon sun which keeps them blooming and moist. When days cool off, they go back into their sunnier location. I have had pelargonium in this shaded position all summer in constant bloom, even though they are listed as full sun.
I plant annuals kinda like a garden accessory. I buy additional ones late season at bargain prices to fill in where perennials are through for the season. By mixing them in, I vary the heights to give a looser feel that has a more subtle appearance and looks less like the bedding plants they were bred to be.
Large drifts of perennials woven together as a tapestry of texture and color looks gorgeous but is rarely sustainable in a traditional garden situation. With annuals mixed in, this English garden look is more sustainable throughout the growing season. The annuals are sacrificial in this case, being that I use them as a cutting garden too.
What gardener does not like having a fresh bouquet to liven up the indoors? From the time the tulips and daffodils bloom to when the mums close out the growing season, I am out in my garden picking flowers. Each bloom does play a part in creating the whole scene, yet I still do cut flowers knowing the more that are cut, the more lie in replacement.
Annuals are ideal for using in newly planted borders that have not achieved full stride.
I am not very fond of this petunia below. It must have looked better in a large mass for me to take its photo. I think it looks “over cooked”.
Look to begonias to replace Impatiens as a bedding plant, because Impatiens are plagued by downy mildew problems. It bewilders me that nurseries still sell them here.
I hope I helped you with how I use annuals. Many, including petunia, Ageratum and Osteospermum will reseed the next year. I only planted Alyssum once and have had it yearly thereafter. I pick all summer long, but will add wildflowers picked from the meadows to my arrangements. Everything goes in my flower arranging.
Start with sunny yellow and end in yellow. Happy, happy, happy…Note the Japanese Beetle, not so happy.
Sunday, we step back into the reality of Winter with What’s in the Thicket. It is the last in the series on Conservation Landscaping.