Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August and annuals

I felt vindicated for my nothing happens in August comment when I read in a gardening book from the UK, "This is the month that tests the gardener's skill and ingenuity. The garden can look very tired."   Annuals are the key to the garden looking like a garden through the long hot season.  My shade staples are impatiens and wax leaf begonias.  However, I have been amazed to see my neighbor's front yard edged in begonias out in the full hot sun blooming away week after week.  My choices for sun have evolved into Jerry's favs, the little Star zinnias that he calls Taco Bell flowers, and the California poppy colored cosmos.  The little single Stars do not need deadheading, which means stick them in the dirt and let them go until frost kills them.  Nice!  The impatiens and begonias need no care either.  That is a real plus when it is too hot to enjoy puttering.  I know all of those are the ubiquitous gas station kind of plants but again, that is what makes them work here.  I have a grown a single red zinnia but it seems no longer available.  I might try the green ones next year, but basically I do not care for zinnias.  Other annuals are out there of course, such as petunias whose foliage gives me the weemies, and whose flower buds are much loved by worms.  EW!  I tend to think of salvias as perennials but there are some good annuals and I have two this year, the Lady in Red, and the Victoria Blue.  Eh!  They are OK.  I do not seem to grow marigolds well.  I have a couple that grew this year from a whole packet of saved seed.  I am sure there are some I am not remembering, but most of the rest do not like the heat.  Annuals are essential fillers in the garden, but for me they are just that. 

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