Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Annuals for easy gardening

Breadseed poppies with larkspur, a favorite picture

Hah!  Annuals are not easy!  Their primary purpose is to set seed since they only have the one chance.  So for the most part growing annuals is a constant game of deadheading, then waiting long enough to pull the plant to make sure seed has set and spread.  And do not even get me started on over seeding.  : )   It's like poker, know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.  Then there is the cost for setting out bedding annuals, should one choose to do that.  Annuals are not the easy way to garden. 
However, there are a few annuals that are actually easy.  Impatiens is one, although they pretty much need to be replaced each year, so there is the cost.  They do not need deadheading or any other care, and that makes them easy.  Waxleaf begonias is another, and for me they are perennial, continuing on year after year and, unless it gets really cold, blooming all 12 months.  There is a tiny single zinnia that comes in white gold and orange that likewise does not need deadheading.  And speaking of zinnias, they and cosmos are pretty much all that bloom here all through the really hot season.  We have learned to just yank cosmos when they get too seedy and let new ones grow.  They are Jerry's new hot season flower, following his crop of California poppies that grow all the rest of the year. Alyssum and bedding lobelia are two others that will just keep coming all year, although alyssum will seed as densely as grass if not pulled soon enough.  Others I love enough to justify include poppies of all sorts and larkspur.  They do leave huge gaping holes in the garden since they come up in the fall and die back as soon as the weather hits 85ish.  I fiddle with other annuals, and have learned a few pots well placed keep the color without a total commitment in space and labor. 

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