July 5, 2009

Annuals Among Perennials

It has taken me several decades of gardening to finally embrace the idea of growing annuals in the ground instead of containers. I've always been a perennial gardener. I decided to give seed sowing a try this year to help fill in the blanks between perennials. I also bought a few annual plants such as coleus, impatiens, ageratum and angelonia.

If I continue to add perennials, I will have far too many as they mature. I can't really give away plants from my garden because we are in a fire ant quarantine zone. In other words, I don't want to passalong ants with the plants!

The larkspur blooms in May, that sprouted from seeds sown in October, have been great performers. I deadheaded a few for repeat blooms and have allowed others to reseed in the gardens.

The zinnias and marigolds are now beginning to bloom. I've been sowing the seeds every few weeks to continue producing fresh plants and blooms, hopefully up until frost.

The hot colors (yellow, orange, red) of the marigolds are planted in the butterfly garden to fill in around salvia, gaillardia, agastache, crocosmia, and nepeta.

The cool colors (purple, magenta, white, green) of zinnias have been sown in the cottage garden. The rabbits will eat zinnias, so I keep spraying repellent on the young plants once a week.

I don't know why my cleome seeds didn't germinate. I sowed those in the early spring without results. I just planted a few more seeds to try, but I think I'll try sowing them in October this year to see if I have better luck.

If the zinnia and marigold displays work well this year, then sowing annuals may become an annual summer event!

Photos and words by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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