Add Color with Annual Flowers
This year the big fashion in landscape design is color, color and more color. Maybe everyone’s tired of the dull dreariness of the recession. Maybe there is just a really good selection of colorful hybrid flowers appearing from the breeders. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how you can add color to make your garden pop.
Annual flowers grow from seed, bloom and set new seed all in one season before dying. Perennial flowers grow, bloom, set seed, and rest before coming back for successive years. Because annual flowers do not have to save energy to grow year after year, you will usually get more flowering from annuals than perennials. Unlike perennials, annuals will have to be replaced on a regular basis once they finish flowering. But that means you can keep changing out your spent flowers with exciting new annual plants.
This makes annual flowers perfect for addling big splashes of color to your garden. Ways of getting the most out of your annuals is to create whole annual gardens in areas where you want to draw lots of attention like entryways or small planters. Another excellent use for colorful annuals is to fill in between young perennials that need to be widely spaced to allow for future growth. Annuals can brighten up those empty spots until the perennial is big enough to fill the space and offer blooms of its own.
You can get wonderful effects with annual color by planting a garden of all one color, use reds, whites, and blues for national holidays, paint your garden with all pastel colors or stick to a family of warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellows) or cool colors (blues, purples, and pinks). Designing with annual flowers is like painting your garden with color accents!
Check out all the amazing shapes, forms, sizes, and colors available in annual flowers. There are new culltivars being offered each year and you can find everything from velvety black pansies to tall, willowy bi-colored cosmos, to extra-frilly marigolds. You can find annual color to brighten shady areas like impatiens or Torenia (Wishbone flower). Plant colorful annuals to bask in hot summer sunshine like cheerful snapdragons or stately sunflowers. The good thing about annuals is that you can grow plants that may not like some of your seasonal weather. Since they will only be around for one single season, you don’t have to worry about their being able to survive all year round like with perennials.
Some annuals add color with brilliant foliage like the outrageously patterned coleus, or the electric chartreuse of the sweet potato vine. Most of the colored foliage plants tend to burn in hot, bright sun so giving them a little shade where sunshine can burn.
Other annual plants will spill over walls, hillsides, or fill in gaps. These plants are useful for hanging pots, too. Try Alyssum or Million Bells. Million Bells (Calibrachoa) are related to petunias and are often called miniature Petunias. They have been bred to produce a wide range of sparkling colors from brilliant hues to deep tones to soft pastels.
Climbing annuals are a handy way to quickly create screens. Twine sweet peas or climbing nasturtiums up unsightly fences to turn eye-sores into celebrations of spring. Wallpaper a boring chain link or chicken wire fence with taller climbers like the hyacinth bean or the Scarlet Runner Bean that produces decorative red blooms and edible beans.
If there are just too many choices for you to decide upon, set aside a garden area where you can plant a mixed garden of annual flowers to create a riot of color just for fun. You can buy individual seed packets, small pots or flats to plant your own or use native wildflower seed mixes. Another idea to fill a small area is to use different colored low annual plants to create designs, patterns or even pictures.
Annual gardens do require some care. If you want them to bloom their longest, they should be regularly deadheaded (the spent flower heads snipped off before the plant loses the last of its energy forming seeds). You can hire services to continually replace your annual displays at the end of each season, do it yourself, or use annuals as fillers until their perennial garden mates spread out to fill the area. Annuals can play many roles in the garden. Use them where they will best fit into your garden and lifestyle.
Garden experts claim this is the year annuals will explode in popularity. You can create a fashionable garden easily no matter where you live. Just select the annual flowers that will do best where you want them planted, give them sufficient water, deadhead faded blooms, and design them where they will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
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