A while back, we had a very nice little chat about perennials. It was fun to show a few photo's, and especially fun to hear everyone's favorites - I think peonies topped the most popular list. Perennials are truly wonderful. They come back every year, better than ever, and you buy them once and have them for ages. They are a delight.
Rarely, though, do you find one that will bloom all summer for you.
That's where annuals come in.
Most annuals, with a few exceptions, do their thing until frost. Gotta love that.
Here are a few of my very favorites, in alphabetical order.
Alphabetical order allows me to feel very official in a garden handbook, potentially annoying know-it-all, kind of way. It also lets me save the best (zinnias) for last.
So, lets get to it.
Anagallis (shown with geraniums, bacopa and yet to bloom verbena). This little beauty is fairly new to me. I've only used it in my pots for two years, and I'm in love. The color is a brilliant, gorgeous blue, quite possibly my favorite garden color ever.
It's a great filler. (Seen here with ivy geraniums, lobelia and bacopa.)
Okay, it's a great filler for about two and a half months, then things get a bit out of hand.
I'm all for any plant that's this enthusiastic, but it did become a bit of a hog by the end of the summer. All this from four little 2x2 pots. It definitely gets an "A" for effort, in an overachiever kind of way.
Cosmos. Bright, cheery, feathery and tough. And, they reseed like crazy.
Impatiens for shade. They look beautiful all the time, with no deadheading required. I'm not a huge fan of deadheading, so that moves these guys right to the top of my list.
Larkspur. This photo is from the Year of the Larkspur.
After a couple years of reseeding themselves, they went wild. They do have a limited life though, and when they were done and it came time to pull them out, my beds were bare. Now, I try to keep them in pretty small groups so their absence isn't felt so harshly in late summer, when they've gone to the big larkspur field in the sky.
Love, love larkspur. Does anyone know...is it an annual version of delphinium? They sure look similar.
Marigolds. Who doesn't love a marigold. Actually, I didn't for the longest time. Their smell kind of bothered me, but they have grown on me over time, and now I gotta have em. This photo was in hot competition to be the sidebar picture for Meadowbrook Garden. I lost sleep over which one to pick. Did I make the right choice?
Petunias. Specifically, Supertunia Vista. This color is called Bubblegum.
This is one plant. If you look close, you'll see a sad little purple one of a different variety that just couldn't quite hold it's own. The supertunias are ridiculous. Insane. And, icing on the petunia cake, they don't need to be deadheaded, which is not always the case with other varieties.
So fun, because they reseed and come back very different from what they were the year before. You never know what you're going to get.
Okay, here we go. The best for last. The must have of all garden must haves. (For me, anyway!)
You will be so tired of hearing about zinnias before the summer's over. You'll be all, "enough already with the stinkin zinnias, lady!" Between the zinnias and Sunsugar tomatoes, you will think you are in the movie Groundhog Day, and that I just keep writing the same post over and over again. That's how much I love to talk about zinnias and Sunsugar tomatoes.
For today, I'll keep it fairly short.
My very, very favorite is the Magellan variety. They are compact and bloom like crazy. They fade beautifully, so you really can go quite a while before you have to deal with the old blooms. I probably only deadhead them three times during the summer. In fact, I took a picture of the spent blossoms, because they still looked so pretty.
I also love the taller State Fair mix, as well as the Dreamland variety. With a new greenhouse to play in, I am going to try pretty much any zinnia I can get my hands on. Should be fun! The only zinnia I am not totally in love with is Profusion. It is truly gorgeous, and I love the shape of the plant, but the flowers seem to fade quickly to a crispy brown, and I think we've pretty much established how I feel about deadheading. In fact, after writing this post, I am starting to feel the same way about the word deadheading, as I do about the actual process of deadheading, so it's probably time to call it a day.
Now, please humor me and tell me about your favorite annuals. I'm always looking for ideas. And if you have a favorite zinnia, I'd love it if you would share that too.