Features

In the Garden: Annuals add color after perennials are through

I love perennials because they come up reliably year after year. But annual flowers put on a colorful show in my garden, often long before, and after, each perennial’s blooming season.

Annuals grow, flower, set seed and die in a single growing season. Each year, plant breeders wow us with new varieties that have bigger and more colorful flowers, interesting foliage or improved disease-resistance.

This year is no exception, so let’s take a look at the annuals I would love to squeeze into my garden. All will perform best when grown in a sunny location.

• Cosmidium burridgeanum: This plant’s name is a mouthful, but the scent makes it a worthy addition to any chocoholic’s garden. Philippine has chocolate-scented, bi-colored blossoms of gold with burgundy centers and delicate foliage. The flowers bloom profusely on 16-inch-tall plants (Territorial Seed).

• Hollyhock (Alcea rosea): Everyone loves old-fashioned hollyhocks, but Halo Mixed is particularly captivating with its bi-colored flowers in pink, rose, purple or white and contrasting center eyes. The plants will grow 6 feet tall (Territorial Seed).

• Marigold (Tagetes patula): I appreciate marigolds for their perky blooms and pest-repelling qualities. Legion of Honor is an heirloom seed featuring single, butter-yellow flowers with small burgundy blotches on each petal toward the center. They will grow 12 inches tall (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds). Cottage Red has single, bright-red blossoms with orange centers. At 30 inches high, they’ll be a real standout (Cook’s Garden).

• Mexican sunflower (Torch Tithonia): I saw this variety at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in fall 2012 and was astounded at all of the butterflies mobbing it. The profuse, 4-inch red-orange flowers look stunning among the attractive, deep-green foliage. They grow 4 to 6 feet tall (Baker Creek, Botanical Interests, Cook’s, Johnny’s Select Seeds, Renee’s Garden).

• Spider flower (Cleome): This old-fashioned annual is sure to bring hummingbirds to your garden. The cultivar Color Fountains features tall, spider-like flower clusters in pink, white and rose that look terrific in floral arrangements. Plants can reach up to 5 feet in height under ideal conditions (Renee’s).

• Sunflower (Helianthus annuus): It’s hard to choose just one variety, but Soraya has certainly captured my attention with its 4- to 6-inch orange blooms and large brown center disks. The plants grow 6 feet tall and each one bears up to 25 blooming stems (Harris Seeds, Johnny’s, Territorial Seed).

• Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus): Every time I see a photo of Incense Peach Shades, I just gasp at how lovely the colors are. The fragrant flowers range from ivory to pale peach and salmon and are ideal as cut flowers. It will grow 6 feet high (Cook’s Garden).

• Zinnia: I’m crazy about zinnias. This year, I’m growing Profusion Double Deep Salmon (Z. hybrida) and Persian Carpet (Z. haageana). The Profusion series has tidy, foot-tall mounded plants that are covered with long-lasting blooms. Persian Carpet is a mix of unusual zinnias with 2-inch red, orange, yellow, bronze, chocolate, burgundy or bi-colored blooms and will grow 2 feet tall (Johnny’s).

Susan Mulvihill can be reached at inthegarden@live.com.Visit susansin thegarden.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/ susansinthegarden.


Click here to comment on this story »





Blogs


5 education reads found in the last 7 days

New, Reading-Heavy SAT Has Students Worried via The New York Times’ Anemona Hartocollis “For thousands of college hopefuls, the stressful college admissions season is about to become even more fraught. ...


TGIF Wild Card — 2.12.16

The occupation is over -- in southeastern Oregon, not Boise. The annual siege of Boise continues as another lackluster Idaho Legislature reaches the halfway point of its annual session. We ...


The week that was…

Tonight’s “Idaho Reports” reports on the fifth week of this year’s legislative session, from local control issues to water to words from the governor. Co-host Melissa Davlin interviews Sen. Todd ...




Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile