Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I think of my annuals as the real work horses in the garden. In May I start searching for old favorites and if I'm lucky find something new and striking. It's usually possible to find some already blooming plants so there won't be any surprises in color. I'm lucky to have a greenhouse near me with a really good selection. I'm not fond of bare ground around my perennial plants so I tend to stick an annual anywhere there is a space in my perennial beds. I try to select annuals that aren't bothered by insects or disease. The ones that go into the ground have to be drought tolerant.

Below, heavenly scented heliotrope is one of my favorites. It looks good with any yellow blooming plants. Pictured here with old fashioned marguerite daisies.

Same thing here with some purple petunias and of course Thumper.

I like these creamy yellow petunias around the base of yellow or orange roses. Roses have gorgeous flowers but the shrub itself is ugly. Anything bushy and blooming that covers the straggly rose canes is a plus.
Below petunias with Autumn Sunset rose.

My favorite petunias are these two- toned purples. They are great with yellow blooming flowers and silvery foliaged plants. There is some dusty miller planted among these and some Achillea 'Moonshine'.

Cleome below. Plant it once and you will have it forever. In the spring the seedlings come up thick as moss on the ground. It gets tall so I put it behind medium height plants. I like it at the base of shrubs like viburnum to add some color long after the vibernum has bloomed. It grows up through the shrub branches and looks interesting. I tried the smaller cleome 'firecracker' in pots but wasn't happy with it. (Warning, pulling up all those extra seedlings can be annoying.) Cleome is quite drought tolerant.

Rudbeckia hirta is an annual for me. Every now and then one will return or reseed, not often.


flydragon said...

Hi back. You found me so I found you. Gorgeous pics. I also plant annuals around my perennials. I try to pick perennials that have a long blooming season but that's not always possible so annuals fill in the bare times.

Gail said...

For the longest time...I forgot about I appreciate all they bring to a flowers when all else has stopped blooming in August! I have recently discovered what a wonderful plant sulphur cosmos can be! I think they would look good with the heliotrope! Which I cannot remember ever seeing around here? and I just found some less then perfect but still blooming zinnias for 25 cents a pot! They might seed some cute babies! Who knows!


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Flydragon. Me too, annuals bloom when everything else is resting. Right up until it freezes they provide color and interest in the garden.

I'm glad you came to visit.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail. Excellent buy on the zinnias. Still a lot of summer left for them to recover and keep blooming.

I've never seen sulfer cosmos around here, do I need to order the seeds? That's why I love these blogs. I've gotten great suggestions from other gardeners like yourself.

Heliotrope is hard to find. The place I always bought it has just gone out of business:( Don't know where my next plants will be coming from.

Anonymous said...

Heliotrope is one of my favorite annuals too. I started it from seed one year because I wasn't able to find it the year before. I love the fragrance. I share your philosophy about not liking dirt to show around perennials. I'm not one who likes space around each plant (like I see on lots of garden tours), I definitely like the "crammed together" effect.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kathleen, I like the 'crammed together' effect too. No patches of dirt, no room for weeds:)

I should order a pack of heliotrope seed in case I can't find plants this spring.

tina said...

Hi Marnie, Thanks so much for identifying my iris! I am with you-no bare ground. Annuals are work horses for sure. My heliotrope still has not bloomed, probably not enough sun. Those cleomes can be annoying. Last year I posted them in and had a few people come and dig them for their gardens. Other than that I am trying to limit where they are.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

The creamy petunias are gorgeous! And I have to mention... did you know that you've used a complementary color scheme in your plantings and this post? Purple and yellow are exactly opposite each other on the color wheel making them complementary colors which is a color combination that the human eye finds very appealing. I couldn't help but notice (it's the artist in me).

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cindy. I sure don't have an artist' eye. If I knew more about color and consulted a color wheel, it probably would have saved me a disaster like my purple liatris in front of blue sea holly.
Thanks for the tip.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hey Tina. I just found some 2" cleome seedlings among my tomatoes. How in the world did they get way over there? Still, I like them. A tough, unusual plant that has no pests and doesn't need watering.

I really like the reblooming iris. Unfortunately, they always rebloom at peak Japanese Beetle time. Yours is so pretty.

A Wild Thing said...

Every year I say I'm going to plant cleome. As my yard shinks to garden, with six acres, don't think I'll run out of room, just time to plant, next year the cleome.


Q said...

Dear Marnie,
I also plant lots of annuals. I do seed to seed in my gardens. I do buy some plants in the early spring and let my seeds do the rest of the work. The last time I bought zinnia seed was in 1978!
So fun getting to know you!

beckie said...

Your annuals are gorgeous! Such good use of them in and around your perennials-they keep blooming as the perennials come in and out of flower. I have a cleome planted in a container(first one for me)and this fall plan on transplanting it. I will find an area that I won't care if they come up 'thick as moss'!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie!
Great post about annuals, because we use them the same way, and sometimes have too much success (as you've seen at my place. Kudos to you for successfully growing Heliotrope, because we can never keep it watered enough (but we didn't grow it in containers, either, so...).

We have those same purple veined Petunias this year too, as well as some burgundy and pure purple as well. That was a big step for our garden, as you know, lol.

People have tried to pawn off Cleome on us for years and we refuse. Yes, they are pretty, I won't deny that, but those thorns are not such a good thing with dogs in the yard. We already get gouged by the Datura renegades in the fall, lol.

You've got some great stuff going there, and look forward to seeing more.

marmee said...

great pictures. love your garden with all the petunias and roses.
i have never seen rudbeckia but i love the colour and the centers almost look purple online.

Gail said...


Mine came in a wildflower mix! They were the only flowers that grew! Here is a page that discusses them: I am looking for a place we can purchase seeds....I'll let you know.

Connie said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Your pics are beautiful, as are your dogs...and while I'm not a cat person, your cats are beautiful, too.

I love the color combinations. Spectacular.

Kelli said...

Beautiful flowers! I love the purple and yellow together. Not much is blooming at my house because of the heat, so I enjoyed seeing your pretty blooms!

Rose said...

We have very similar taste in annuals, Marnie. The heliotrope, the two-toned petunia, and the creamy yellow petunias are all favorites of mine, too. I tend to plant them in containers, but I'll put them in some bare spots in the perennial beds occasionally. I'm partial to pink and purple combos, but I like the purple and yellow combo, too; I'll have to remember that for next year.

Anonymous said...

Annuals are the real workhorses of the garden. You're so right. I saw those yellow petunias for the first time this year. I didn't get any, but they look good at your house.~~Dee

troutbirder said...

Lovely indeed. I can't exactly explain why but cleomes have always been one of my favorite annuals. Tall, delicate and airy as they are...

Gail said...

Park Seeds has the Cosmos Bright Lights!


Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Sherry. I have absolutely terrible luck with seeds. Last year I tried winter sowing again. Nothing came up. I know why I don't have luck with reseeding in the garden, I mulch several inches thick.

Usually try to buy a few zinnias plants but only the mini ones are easy to find.


Beckie, I think I will do something similar. Move mine around and let them grow more or less as wild flowers. Plenty of room around the barns and hedgerows.


Roses and Lilacs said...

IVG, know what you mean, this time of year I water the heliotrope twice a day.

The spines on the cleome are a pain when I'm pulling them. Without thinking I'll grab a seedling to pull up. Ouch.


Marmee, the rudbeckia come in beautiful colors. I love that dark one too. Thanks for stopping by to visit.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail. I was checking Annie's Annuals. They have "Cosmos sulphureus "Klondike Cosmos"
Do you think that's the same thing?


Hi Connie. Thank you for stopping to visit. I'll tell the dogs you said they were beautiful.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Kelli, my garden looks pretty sad this time of year too. Some lilies are looking good, salvia, agastache, sea holly and globe thistle. This is the time of year the annuals really earn their keep.


Hi Rose, I don't have as many containers this year. I miss them but it's so much work just keeping them alive in this hot, dry weather. Hate watering plants at 6am before going to work.

I like pink and purple combos too. For some reason this year I didn't have that anywhere this year.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Dee, thanks for stopping to visit. Hope my near-by green house continues to grow my favorites. Seems like things come and go in the trade.


Hi troutbirder. Yes, they do look airy and delicate but they are really tough. More and more I appreciate the tough plants that don't need so much babying.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Gail, somewhere at home I know I have a Parks catalog. Thanks

Roses and Lilacs said...

Sharon, I don't know where your post about cleome went. I just read it, hit publish (I think) and poof it disappeared.

Anyway, I think you will like the cleome. Especially if you plant some in an out of the way place. They will come back every year. No staking, no watering, no deadheading, just months of pretty blooms.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I planted my 1st Rose this year, so I'll have to remember to plant Petunias with it to camoflage the canes. Every year I think about planting Heliotrope, & every year I can't find fragrant ones. Seeing how well yours blend with everything, I should just get it for the looks & consider the fragrance a bonus.

Sherri said...

I see you like to grow Heliotrope too! I love heliotrope and can't grow enough of them!! Love all your pics! Thanks for sharing!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning MMD, I've heard heliotrope used to be very popular. For some reason it isn't a widely grown anymore.

Good luck with your rose.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sherri, thank you for visiting. The deep purple color and wonderful fragrance is hard to resist.

CIELO said...

How beautiful! I love to embellish my garden with annual, such as petunias, petunias are always welcome in my garden, they're so hardy and bring so much color to any garden.... yours, is looking lovely...


Meems said...

Hi Marnie,
I enjoyed seeing all your annuals and reading how you determine what to do with them. I'm not fond of bare ground either so I tend to overcrowd. Petunias are long gone down here not lasting past April... probably when you are just getting yours in the ground. This year was the first our garden centers offered cleome ... I'm thinking I will give it a try next year. Thanks for stopping by Hoe & Shovel... I enjoyed my visit here.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Meems, our opposite seasons are confusing, aren't they? Your climate seems to be better for certain plants--roses for instance.

Thanks for coming to visit. I'll see you soon.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Cielo, Thank you for coming to view my garden and to visit. I agree, petunias produce more color than almost any other plant.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you picked really good selections for annuals. I love your beautiful photos. Annuals really compliment a perennial garden, extending the season between blooms.

The Hunky Gardener said...

Have you seen baby duck petunias? First yellow trailing petunia.