While perennials form the backbone of any garden, it's hard not to resist the bright blooms of new annuals each spring. I primarily use annuals in containers for long-lasting blooms throughout the summer and have some favorites I use each year. This is the third year I've used "Raspberry Blast" Supertunia in my favorite urn, and it's a petunia I would wholeheartedly recommend. It mounds nicely and drapes tidily over the edges of the container, and is positively covered with these variegated candy-pink blooms all season.
One of my all-time favorite annuals that I've written about here several times before is the annual Salvia "Victoria Blue." It's just coming into its own, and this sunny photo doesn't do it justice by any means. I have much better luck with them in the garden rather than in containers, and they're planted in several flowerbeds here. By autumn they're in their full glory, and they hold their blooms until frost. I also planted a "Black and Blue" Salvia, not pictured here, this year; it's much fuller than the Victorias and is a deep, deep blue. We'll see at the end of the season which one wins the Salvia beauty contest.
Another annual that has become a staple on my planting shopping list each spring is lantana. Two similar pots contain "Luscious Lemonade," a lemony yellow, but I really love the multi-colored varieties like this "Mimosa." If we ever get another heat wave this summer--and I'm not complaining at all about the cool weather we've had!--lantana will be one annual that will stand up to the hottest rays of the sun.
Will I ever stop raving about zinnias?:) My zinnia seeds were sown rather late, so I'll have to wait to show you those tall beauties. Instead, another favorite of mine for containers are the different colors of the Profusion series. I started with the orange zinnias--and have a few this year--then I found the hot, hot pink Cherry zinnias pictured above. Last year I added a few white ones to a border in the roadside garden.
This year I found a new color--Apricot! Of course, I had to have these as well. The funny thing is that after a few weeks I noticed some of them had turned this color . . .
. . . yellow! There is a lovely lemony yellow variety of the Profusions as well, but these were definitely apricot when I planted them. They've now turned back to apricot. Could it be a lack of nutrients before I fertilized them? Too much heat for awhile? Strange . . . we'll see what color they are by the end of the summer.
Sometimes, though, you can't beat the old standbys . . . or newer versions of them. For several years I have planted a built-in planter on our front porch with pink geraniums and purple petunias. Last year this combo looked pretty good, but I really wanted something that would trail down the wall in a cascade effect. While looking for my usual "Royal Velvet" purple supertunias, I asked one of the employees at a favorite garden center for her recommendation. Immediately, she took me to see these "Royal Magenta" supertunias. She raved over them, and I have to say they are definitely going to be on my list next year! This is a good lesson for any gardener--sometimes it pays to ask for recommendations rather than stick with the "same old, same old."
While the camera can't seem to capture the color of the petunias--they're really a deep fuschia--it does well with the pale pink of the geraniums also planted here, "Rocky Mountain Light Pink." We actually have a nursery in our small town of about 4,000, and I bought all my geraniums there after discovering they were the fullest and lushest geraniums I had seen anywhere--and cheaper, too! You may think this combo of light pink and fuschia is a little gaudy, and maybe it is, but it's grown on me this summer.
Besides, this is the first time in five years this planter has looked the way I envisioned it!
Mr. McGregor's Daughter also asked us to report on our "worst" annuals, but the only ones I can say didn't live up to expectations are some that didn't germinate in my new "wild"/butterfly/weed garden. But I plan to do a post just on this new garden one of these days, so the disappointments will have to wait until then. And I didn't even mention my different coleus . . . but, hey, the letter C will be coming up in two short weeks!