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Article: Don't Forget the Annuals!

Created on: Monday, June 09, 2003

Annuals pack a lot of color into New England's short growing season. Only a killing frost puts an end to nonstop flowering annuals. Mix with perennials to help hide spent foliage of spring perennials and to add color when perennials with short flowering periods have stopped flowering. A stiff foundation planting of evergreens can be softened and made more attractive with pocket gardens of annuals. Tuck annuals among shrubs for colorful accents or place them at entrances and along walkways. Container gardens have become popular for gardeners with little space. Be creative with textures, colors, and growth patterns. Many annuals lend themselves to cutting and drying for flower arrangements. The idea of establishing a separate garden for cut flowers is worth consideration. Bright flowering plants are in high demand after our long New England winters. Although spring bulbs provide some color to landscapes, these gardens needed to be pre?planned and planted the previous fall. Annual bedding plants provide instant results. Hardier annuals such as pansies, petunia, alyssum, nicotiana, etc. may be planted earlier, whereas frost sensitive varieties including zinnia, impatiens, begonia, and geranium should be delayed until the last week in May, unless you are willing to protect them on chilly nights. Continuous bloom soon after planting, complete range of color and plant height, easy culture, pest resistance, and adaptation to most landscape sites make annual bedding plants the choice for garden color. Varieties are continuously being improved by seedsmen to provide for changes in color fashions, more adaptability, and to provide something "new" for the discerning gardener. I encourage you to use more annuals ? you will enjoy them in a landscape which displays color and interest beyond the routine of lawn and woody plants.

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