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It is annuals we can thank for providing the bulk of color in many gardens, as these plants invest almost all of their energy into flowering, many ending only with that first hard frost. Annuals, as their name implies, are short-lived plants, completing their entire life cycle within a year (germinate-grow-flower-seed). If annuals seem to return in your garden from year to year this is due to self-seeding rather than the plant itself surviving. Some plants will readily seed if allowed to mature, and this seed will secure next year’s generation of plants. Other gardeners like to be more proactive and collect and save seed to sow themselves. Or, as applies to most of us, we simply enjoy our visits to the garden center to soak in the beautiful sights and seek inspiration for the coming season’s plantings. Luckily for us annuals can be purchased at a bargain price compared to many other plants, and at Pesche’s these start at only $1.50 for 4!
Other plants are not true annuals, but because they are not winter hardy in our climate, we choose to treat them as annuals. Most of us simply do not have enough suitable space to successfully overwinter plants, and even with the space, it is not an easy task to keep plants in good health or pest-free over the winter.
Due to the huge diversity of colors, sizes and growth habits (upright, trailing, semi-trailing) amongst annuals, they have countless uses such as in garden beds, mixed planters, hanging baskets and window boxes. Annuals can be used in mass plantings to create a vibrant display of color, or alternatively they can be inter planted into existent perennial beds, providing additional color and filling any gaps.
One method when designing a mixed planter or a hanging basket is to visualize 3 distinct layers; top (height), middle and bottom (cascading). These are often referred to as the Thriller, Filler and Spiller. This basic rule ensures 3 layers of interest and the best use of space. Select upright taller plants to provide the height, mounding plants to fill in the middle, and then trailing plants to gracefully spool over. Those with a decorative pot can plant solely upright plants to prevent trailing plants hiding the pot. The joy with gardening is that if you like it, it is correct! Planters positioned against a house often have a front and back in which taller plants provide the height in the back, and trailing plants hang over the front. Pots that will be seen from all sides can feature the height in the middle of the pot, with trailing plants dotted around the pot.
First off think color, for although no colors truly clash in nature, putting together a good combination of colors can be the difference between a nice or a stunning planting. You want your bed to be a show-stopper, so play with colors until you find that perfect combination. Be aware that one’s eye is automatically drawn to the dominant colors (red, orange, yellow), so these are best placed behind plants with recessive colors (white, pink, purple, blue). For those gardeners that battle to visualize their design, simply lay out the plants ahead of planting and get a better idea of how the design looks in reality. Position taller plants either at the back or in the middle of beds. Keep plant habits in mind and try to avoid dominant plants taking over by locating these away from conservative growers. Most importantly, relax and have fun whilst playing around and experimenting!
Who determines which plants become Proven Winner… you do! Consumer garden success is the top criteria in the extensive selection process. All plants undergo years of painstaking research, trials and evaluations to carefully select those precious individuals that consistently display superior qualities. This process is geared entirely towards ensuring the success of each and every individual home gardener in their endeavours. Want to know more? Click here to learn more about Proven Winners.