Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Best and Worst of this Year's Annuals & Some Plants I Didn't Plant

Mr. McGregor's Daughter has a meme where we tell about the annuals that have worked well in our gardens this year, and those that haven't.

I love growing a variety of plants. I consider myself a collector, and not a landscaper. I love to fill spaces, both inside and out. I also like to choose plants that attract butterflies, caterpillars, bees, and birds. I have lots of perennials, and mix in annuals because I like them, and most of them, once they start blooming, with some deadheading, will perform until frost. I grow some flowers for drying, as well. I am also still finding holes that I'm filling in with annuals, some in pots.

First, you'd think I'd have learned a lesson last year, when I didn't like the legginess of the cosmos and the tall variety of straw flowers in pots. They are leggy this year, too, and of course the cosmos were late in blooming last year, and haven't yet this year. I almost cut them back today, but it looks like they may bloom soon, so I'll leave them for now. (The photos enlarge when clicked on.)

My next door neighbor gave me some seeds from huge celosia plants she had last year, which were from seeds given to her from plants that came from someone else's garden. There were 3 colors. I planted some in the house this spring, and laid some flower heads down here and there in the yard last fall. The first photo shows one I planted across the street. It has started to bloom while still small, as have some of my other flowers.

This one is in my newer bed in the front yard, and I think it's also one I started from seed. It's not as tall as my neighbor's that she direct sowed this spring, but it looks better than the previous one. The flowers last year were huge, and I'm hoping these plants and their blooms grow larger.

These are in the same bed across the street as the pink celosia. I haven't showed the area yet, because I was waiting for it to fill out some. The first wimpy plant is a snapdragon, then a couple Prairie Sun Rudbeckias that have been eaten by rabbits, and one is being eaten by insects.

This Prairie Sun is next to the other 2, and doing quite well. Go figure!

This Love Lies Bleeding may not make it.

This one is back in my front yard, and started out wimpy, too, but has new growth above the blooms.

Normally, Gomphrenas grow well here, but some of them are iffy so far. I started some inside, and bought some plants, and now, don't remember which are which for some of them. The pink Portulca hasn't started spreading yet, either.

I normally like to plant my own hanging pots, but didn't do as many pots this year in order to spend less time watering. I got this petunia on sale, and gave it a trim, but so far, it looks worse instead of better.

Some years nasturtiums do well for me, other years, quite poorly. These were just planted recently, so I don't know yet how well they will do.

These petunias haven't filled out yet, either. Time will tell if they are going to do well. I love the color, though.

I hadn't planted zinnias for a long time, and am quite pleased they are doing so well. I think I'd include the ones from here and across the street in a "best of" list. These are Pastel Sunset, but are brighter than I thought they'd be.

These are the tall strawflowers I started inside, looking better than those in the tub.

I am liking these Mexican Sunflowers, Torch, better than I did at first. The flower is quite bright! These, I started inside. I learned about them at the Cottage Garden Forum at GardenWeb's ivillage. Nell, at Secrets of a Seed Scatterer, grows them, and says the butterflies love them.

The Perfume Delight sweet peas have been fun to grow, but may be slowing down.

I just planted some marigolds a few days ago, and put some pots around, because our curb is supposed to be repaired this summer, and I am going to have to dig 2 feet from the street. I should have included the milkweed on the right in my list of plants I didn't plant. I cut the top off early in the season so it would bush out instead of getting tall. It had some aphids a few days ago, that sprayed off easily with the hose. I am pleased that I've seen a monarch on the flowers each day, maybe there will be some caterpillars on the milkweed.

These orange portulacas are doing quite well right next to the curb, and the verbena is in a pot that I sunk down, so I can lift it up when the time comes to take the plants out.

This lantana is a recent addition. Lantanas are normally in my "best performers" list, and they attract bees and butterflies. I have some that are blooming well, and this one opened up today, so they can be on the good list.

I don't know which list my Flash sunflowers would go on. The ones across the street needed to be tied up, that is, the ones that survived the winds, rain, and squirrels until I got to the tying up. One is blooming, and the others, though wimpy, look like they will bloom. Of course, they don't get as much sun as these in my veggie garden, which I think are quite good looking.

These annual Helen's flowers bloom all summer, and I got them planted this evening, as the soil was dry enough after the last few days of rain.

These pots are doing well. They contain black and blue salvia, ageratum, sweet allysum, Diamond Frost euphorbia, lisianthus, and one of the statices I grew from seeds, either Sinuata Blend, or Pacific, mixed colors.

I had to include the Prairie Sun Rudbeckias in my tub, because they have to be at the top of my "best" list, even though some from the same 6 pack are not doing so well across the street. They are near our back door, playing nicely with the red salvias, and I enjoy looking at them each time I walk by.

I wonder if I collect seeds, they will grow and bloom the same next year.

My garden across the street I've posted on, is across the driveway from the bed I showed earlier in this post. The flowers are growing well here. The flowers on the edge are African and another kind of marigold.

I've mentioned these are supposed to be Giant Cactus zinnias. I was disappointed that they were not as pictured on the seed package at first, but grew to love them, and they are on my "best" list. It's time to do some deadheading.

Here they are from the other side, showing the Mexican sunflowers, one of which has its first bloom. I planted these seeds in the ground the same day, and later planted the nasturtiums, when I thought the fennel (on the far right) wasn't going to come up.

I couldn't get a good photo of the red salvia, so here it is from a distance, with Heather Queen agastache, and the leaf burning cage I use for vines, such as the black eyed Susan vine, that has a bloom near the ground. I started it in the house. There are some perennials, such as amsonia, in there, too.

This is a cardinal climber vine I bought from a family at the Saturday Farmer's Market. It's the one that was climbing on my rattlesnake master.

We are now in the section of plants I was already planning a post on, that I did not plant. They came back from last year's seeds.

This is a cypress vine, which has flowers that look just like those on the cardinal climber. There are several coming up, and they will take off soon and enjoy the fence.

I am so tickled that my Love in a Mist reseeded. I planted Miss Jekyll last year, and some transplants from a friend. I have a few different colors, including the beautiful blue.

The cosmos volunteers are blooming earlier and smaller than the ones I planted from seeds. I like what they are doing, in filling up some space.

The four o' clocks and larkspur are doing well. The larkspur never make it all summer, but they bloom early enough to provide some much needed color in the spring, and seed themselves so reliably. I am pleased with them. The four o' clocks are just getting started, and will bush out to fill in this space in front of my vegetable garden.

These morning glories came from the line of tie dyes. The rest are all a small blue, but they are pretty, too.

The bachelor buttons are almost finished for the season, too. They are in the vegetable garden, and I keep them in certain areas so they don't spread too far. They are a flower I've grown for a very long time, and a garden wouldn't be a garden for me without them or larkspur.

There are several nice clumps of marigolds that came back from the ones I got from Freecycle last year.

My mother-in-law grew moonflowers when she lived here, so I hunted for plants. Once I got a few, I didn't need to look again. The few I let live this year are doing well, and I'm keeping them deadheaded so far.

I don't have to plant dill or verbena bonariensis, either. I used the dill from the herb garden, and left this for the caterpillars, but never saw any. I have seen butterflies on the verbena. It's all over the veggie garden and in the flower beds. It does stay pulled where it's not wanted, so it's a winner for me. I like how it fills spaces, without blocking the view of other plants, too.

Well, tomatoes are annuals, and we're still in my "did not plant" part. I kept 4 plants, and they are all looking to be grape tomatoes, but some are getting larger than others. Maybe I have my own hybrids! :o) They are the first ones to start ripening.

I can't remember what this is, maybe a verbena of some kind, but it surprised me when it started blooming. I don't know what's in the pot with it.

This is the area in front of the compost pile. I do not remember putting some seed heads from the celosia here, but there were a number of them, and I moved some to other areas. I left a few in this area, where some larkspur is almost finished, and there are some hollyhocks and a couple sunflowers.

The blue morning glories are making their way up the trellises! I don't know if I'd include them on my best list, though, as I am still pulling out the extra volunteers. I do like to have them each year, though.

In my herb garden, these summer savory plants are doing quite well, and I have been using them on green beans and other veggies. Most years, they self sow, as they did this year.

I grew some wild coreopsis awhile back, and a seed from that decided to grow in the middle of my herb garden. I better get it deadheaded, or there may be a lot of little coreopsises coming up in the future.

Now, this blue spice basil has a bit of a stronger odor than other basils, and I no longer put it on the compost pile, as it has popped up all over. The package, dated 2006, when I first planted it, says, "Attractive vigorous plant with spikes of light purple flowers. Wonderful fragrance with spicy vanilla tones for use in fruit salads, poultry dishes, and teas." It's vigorous alright. I pull most of them up, but needed to let a few grow in the herb garden this year, because I didn't get the other seeds planted that I meant to get in.

The internet says violets are perennial weeds, but I let some grow, adding some to salads in the spring. See, it's sharing space in the wood under the deck with a portulaca volunteer!

Whatever this is, I grew it in a hanging pot last year. It was exuberant! It looks like it's also sharing space with a portulaca.

Back to the front yard, this looks like a salvia.

I had some Jewels of Opar in a pot on the porch steps last year, and now this is growing right next to the porch. I already moved some to other spots to the east of the house. They haven't been up that long, and haven't bloomed yet, but the foliage is pretty.

I left out some of the plants that self sowed because I had so many photos on this post, so there may be a part 2 coming up.


  1. Holy cow Sue! You have been busy this summer. You can grow so many things that I would just struggle with here. I really enjoyed seeing so many of your plantings. The rain has been good to you I think. :-)
    Great post, lots of fun!!

  2. nasturtiums are iffy for me too funny

  3. I am amazed at how many things you grow! Such a variety! I love the Zinnia, mostly because I my Grandmother used to grow them.
    Celosias are great too!
    I liked this post, I felt like I was really there in your garden. Nice tour.

  4. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  5. Thanks for participating! I'm more of a collector too, but I don't have anywhere near as many annuals. I'm so jealous that you can grow Zinnias & Sweet Peas. I forgot to list my Sweet Peas on my "loser" list. They sprouted but I think they're in too much shade to bloom. I love your towering yellow Sunflower. That just shouts "summer!" I look forward to part 2.

  6. Wow, what a variety of plants you have, Sue! You can't go wrong with zinnias; yours are way ahead of mine. And I love that Prairie Sun Rudbeckia--that's one I'll have to look for next year. But I'm really jealous of your verbena bono.; I planted some seeds given to me, but none have appeared. Of course, it's possible I accidentally weeded them out when they were small:)

  7. I like the Prairie Sun Rudbeckia -- it's so vivid. Your Tie Die Morning Glory too. Tithonia has always been one of my favorites. Can you believe that Larkspur is still blooming here?


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