Annuals for the Show


Gardeners are like children: we like the play and the mess and the disorder of gardening. We also don’t like to wait for results. We want the impact NOW. We want birds and butterflies NOW. We’re a demanding sort, so we turn to annuals. Annuals are the generous and giving aunties and uncles of the plant family: they always have spark and vivacity and a pocketful of treats.


Every year, my mom splashes out for petunias: great red and pink waves that last all season long. They cover a rock face in her back garden with expert effectiveness. Sure she could plant a shrub in front of it, but her petunias, spilling over the rock in great ruby waves is such a spectacle, that any other option wouldn’t quite cut it.


Annuals are perfect for making a splash where’s there’s a lack of immediate colour.

And each year, you can try new colour combinations. Last year, corals were my thing. This year, perhaps I’ll try bright pinks and oranges. Purples and lime green look lovely in shaded areas. The possibilities are endless.


Part of my own gardening budget includes a list of annuals that I simply can’t live without: begonias (for sun and shade), geraniums (scented Martha Washingtons are stunning and multihued), and petunias (wave after wave of them, thank you). Simply speaking, they do what a hardy perennial can’t: give immediate satisfaction.


Hanging baskets adorn my front entrance: planters stuffed with colour line my walkway and low-lying tufts spill onto the backyard path. Thanks to annuals, my desire for colour is satiated until the first of the perennials do their thing.


Try a few of the following in your garden plans this season:


  • Geraniums
  • Petunias
  • Begonias
  • Impatiens
  • Pansies
  • Marigolds
  • Lobelia
  • Dracaena
  • Bacopa
  • Potato Vine
  • Coleus
  • and many more!


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