Gardening with Annuals

Annuals are generally loved by most gardeners as they are not only in great abundance but are relatively easy to grow and lend themselves to annual experimentation.  Growing and flowering for just the current gardening season, they are not demanding on the garden real-estate. Annual flowers can be great fun, try new introductions, create new combinations, change the design of your garden by filling in bare spots or adding containers throughout. If you are not thrilled you can do something different next year.

California Poppies / Sensible Gardening and Living
California Poppies / Sensible Gardening and Living

Designing annual gardens is not all that difficult as most of the flowers will be blooming at the same time, usually from early summer straight through to frost. What you will want to consider is plant growth habits, tall or short, lean or bushy. Think about leaf structure and flower shapes and sizes, spikes or clusters, large or tiny, broad or lacy. Also important is flower color, this is where your creativity really comes into play.

It will be how you combine the different stylizations of the plants that will give your annual flower gardens their appeal. There really are no rules, and those few rules that do exist can be easily broken. Not all tall plants must be in the back comes to mind. The colors you choose is a personal preference, you might like bold and brassy or delicate and soft.

If you like bright bold colors such as reds, yellows and oranges you will have no trouble finding suitable summer flowers. Many annual garden flowers, originating from the tropics are naturally bright and hot. A garden full of hot tones stands out and dares everyone to look at it, always suitable for sunny sites.

Double Red Oriental Poppy / Sensible Gardening and Living
Fuschia / Sensible Gardening and Living

If you tend to be on the passive side and prefer muted tones, delicate blooms and airy foliage you will no doubt be choosing more old fashioned annuals. This is often the classic look of an English garden. You might have to look a little harder for these annuals and often will want to seek out seeds to grow your own. The incorporation of white flowers will help to add contrast between the pastel shades.

Pink Petunias / Sensible Gardening and Living
Geranium / Sensible Gardening and Living

When planning your annual flower beds they can be very ridge and formal using geometric patterns of shape and color and permanent edging. On the other hand they can be more of a cottage garden style, a more natural, carefree, slightly messy production. It’s all up to you!

Annuals for Hot Gardens

marigold / zinnia / calendula / snapdragon / salvia / petunia / sweet william /  sun flower / scarlet sage / verbena / poppy / lantana / impatiens / geranium / cosmos / celosia

Annuals for Cool Gardens

alyssum / cleome / bachelor button / ageratum / salvia / lobelia / petunia / scabiosa / sweet pea / poppy / periwinkle / hollyhock / geranium / fox glove / dusty miller / cosmos  / snapdragon