Annuals in the Perennial Garden
This is my site Written by Geoff on April 1, 1998 – 6:27 pm

We have now spent the last few issues discussing perennials in the garden. If perennials are the bread, then annuals are the butter for the avid gardener. Bright, showy, long blooming, highly versatile, and inexpensive annuals really are the gardener’s friend.

What better way to fill in while a new perennial bed becomes established than with the splash of color. How often annuals have saved the day in our gardens. They are great for hiding those barren, drab areas that seem to pop up at the worse time. Best yet, annuals can usually be grown from inexpensive seed. Often sown directly in the garden or as plants purchased at your local nursery. Today, even some larger mail order nurseries are offering annual plants for sale.

Our favorite annuals based on color and versatility are: 

1. Cleome – Also called the Spider Flower, 4-6 feet tall, bright airy flowers in shades of white to pink, attractive to bees and butterflies. Favorite varietyPurple Queen.

2. Cosmos – These frilly leafed plants growing anywhere from 2-6 feet, providing a wonderful backdrop with their daisy like flowers, easily grown. Favorite varieties:Seashells or Versallies Tetra.

3. Hollyhock – Single or double flowering, 5-6 feet tall, often blooming the first season although considered a biannual, and self seeding. Favorite varietyHeirloom Black.

4. Sunflowers – Another tall showy group with new varieties being introduced daily, height from 1-18 feet, excellent background plant. Favorite varietiesRussian Mammoth,Mexican, or Gloriosia.

5. Zinnia – A stunning hardy flower in many colors, sizes, and shapes. This annual provides cut flowers from June until frost. Favorite varietiesCactus or Giant Double Mix.

6. Nicotiana – This is another bright showy plant that can provide instant color to the garden. Most are 12-16 inches tall in dark pink to white shades. Favorite varieties:Sensation or Nicki Bright Pink.

7. Marigold – An all-purpose flower from 4-36 inches from almost white to dark orange, blooms continually until frost. Favorite varietiesPinwheelMoonbeamGold ‘n’ VanillaStarfire, and Tiger Eyes.

8. Impatiens – What other plant can you throw in both sunny or shady areas? They are used in window boxes, gardens, baskets, and even grown indoors. Favorite varieties:Super Elfin or Blitz.

9. Petunia – An old time favorite, found in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes. Another versatile plant for the sunny garden but often under used today. Favorite varietiesBig Daddy Series and Giant Cascade.

All of the above are easily grown, requiring minimal care, while providing a splash of excitement.

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Modified: March 8, 2009 at 8:44 am GMT-0800

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