Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ABC Wednesday: Awesome Annuals

Welcome to the beginning of Round 5 of ABC Wednesdays as we start the alphabet over with the letter A. I've really enjoyed participating in this meme, but this time around I've decided I may not participate every week, especially during gardening season. However, this week is perfect because I had already decided to focus on Annuals for the letter A, and then Mr. McGregor's Daughter invited other garden bloggers to post about their "worst and best" annuals this year. So today I get to combine two memes in one post!

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!

ABC Wednesday is hosted once again by the energetic Mrs. Nesbitt. And join in on the review of annuals at Mr. McGregor's Daughter.


  1. Hi Rose, Great colors! I love the Raspberry Splash...when I look around I see more pinks in my garden -- think Raspberry Splash would fit right in. This is the first year in ages I have planted Zinnias. Sor far only one has bloomed, but I did plant the seeds late.

  2. Hi Rose, I too love zinnias, they're just so colorful! Also love the lantana. I've decided to be realistic; as much as I'd like to do the ABC Wednesday there's just no way I'd keep up, OR it would be the only posts I'd ever make. Eh yep. Have fun with it, though!!

  3. I love the salvias too. That is my latest obsession I think. I will plant many more next year.

  4. Congrats on your planter looking the way you envisioned it. That is so wonderful and something I think we all aspire to. I think annuals are invaluable in the garden. You have a lot and they look great.

  5. Rose, I think your planter looks great and the sweet potato vine compliments the petunias beautifully~Lantana has become a regular visitor here. It draws the bees and butterflies and is so pretty. Don't you love all the choices they now offer!

    For years I didn't add annuals to the beds...using them only in containers. Now I scatter the seeds of zinnias and cosmos in the beds...I finally noticed a few zinnia seedlings and hope this means I'll have some late blooming Shades of Pink!

  6. Hi Rose, your petunias look great. You can't beat them for trouble free, all season color. I've been disappointed in my Victoria Blue. The ones I bought in cell packs are just starting to bloom now. They are pretty but the butterflies and bees ignore them in favor of nepata and perennial salvia.

  7. Ah, so, they are hollyhocks. There's a garden round the back of us that has some and I thought they were.

    My very first zinnia will burst open one day soon! I shall post a photo.

    Our lilies always look half-dead when opening. I don't know if that's normal but it does spoil it a little. Sort of dried up and brown on the outside.

    What else? Oh yes, our tomatoes are slow this year. But george loves the raspberries!

    I don't like the taste of fennel but it is a pretty plant.

    And we had our first flower on our hosta this year. It is a bit of a pathetic specimen (the hosta) but is struggling to survive in spite of george running over it ...

  8. Your annuals are absolutely adorable! I really love all the colors and varieties. Your garden must be fabulous.

  9. Dear Rose,
    Happy ABC Wednesday!
    Your annuals are perfect to start this round off. I bet you have a plant for every letter.
    I also love the way annulas bring so color to the gardens all summer. All of yours look lovely!

  10. I may have said it before, but I envy you those green fingers!! What a sight for sore eyes who appreciates colour :-)

  11. I love the cascading petunias in the planter! I love any plants cascading, really. I can't wait to put together some good-looking containers next year; I really dropped the ball this year. And that lantana is great...I need to get some of those 'Mimosas' for my front garden!

  12. Rose all your annuals look lovely. I'm disappointed that I didn't plant more this year. I reckon that's why my garden looks like a bunch of weeds growing.

  13. Rose, the Profusion Apricot zinnias seem to vary a great deal in their coloration for me, too. Your pictures could have been taken in my garden! As for that planter combination, it's gloriously gaudy and I love it!

  14. Hi Rose, - I think your annuals look fabulous, - they add so much colour to a garden all season long, while the perennials just come and go. Would love to wander through your plantings...

  15. What beautiful flowers! And a beautiful post about annuals. I've been having a wonderful spring and summer with my garden having so many lovely flowers now that my "gardener" is here full-time! *wink*

  16. Great post! I had one I was getting ready to post, that I think I am going to combine with one on annuals, too.

  17. Rose....what a lovely colour range.
    Lantana, one of my favourite annuals. I forgot to plant them this year.....and of course it is too late now.

    Petunias.....I have to say, they never do well with me. I do not know why.....I have given up on them. I love their scent.....and their tumbling habit.

    Zinnias I believe are everyones favourite. My Dad loves them....and plants a variety of colours......last year they were covered in bees....

    I have loved seeing your blooms Rose....your garden must look so pretty......

  18. I like those apricot coloured flowers.

  19. I'm smiling as I write. . .because remembering annuals is what keeps me alive in the long MN winters :O) I will try the new variety of petunia you liked and my hat goes off to Victoria too. I still had them late into November.
    Nicely done and happy Wednesday.

  20. All looks lovely, and I have to agree with you about the zinnias. They have nestled in here quite happily and add some much needed color after the spring flowers have spent themselves. It's interesting that the apricot one keeps changing on you. I love it when flowers surprise like that.

  21. These are beautiful photos and very inspiring. I like the lantana with its multi-colors. And the blue salvia too. In the past I've only seen red (not a favorite).

  22. Thanks, Rose, for the beautiful flowers! Your garden must be a lovely one! Thanks also for the visit and kind comment.

  23. Thanks for participating. Talk about synchronicity - I had no idea that ABC Wednesday was back to "A" again. I'm making a note of the 'Raspberry Blast' Supertunias for next year. That's my kind of color. I also love the combo of fushcia & pale blue pink, so I really admire your Pelargonium/Petunia combo, especially with the lime of the Sweet Potato Vine - that's fantastic!

  24. Janet, "Raspberry Splash" is one I'd definitely recommend. Last year was my first year for planting zinnias; I was so happy with them, there will always be a place for zinnias in my garden.

    Monica, You'll see more zinnias here as soon as my tall ones bloom:) I understand about the posting; I probably won't keep up with all the letters--too much to write about in the garden right now.

    Brooke, The "Victoria" salvias have never failed me; they're a great plant.

    Tina, It's only taken 5 years to get the planter "right":) Sometimes I think I get carried away with buying annuals, but they're so hard to resist!

    Gail, My seed-sown zinnias are late, too, as are my cosmos. I love all the lantana colors! Good luck with your zinnias, and I hope your hand is doing better.

    Marnie, I tried to start some Victorias from seed, but they didn't survive. I wound up buying cell packs, too. I find they usually don't look their best until August.

  25. Liz, Can't wait to see your zinnias! I think some of the flower seeds I sowed may have been in the way of Sophie's favorite digs:)

    Janie, Thanks; my garden space is not that large, but I dig up a little more turf each year:)

    Sherry, I probably could come up with a plant for every letter! Annuals are more work and more expensive in the long run, but they do add so much color in the summer. They cheer me up!

    RuneE, You're really feeding my self-esteem:) Thanks!

    Rose, Glad you like the petunias; these were the first ones I've planted that really created this effect. I'm so glad I listened to the employee at the nursery!

    Susie, I've found that bright-colored annuals draw the eye away from the weeds:)

    Cindy, Glad to hear that about the apricot Profusions; I thought I had done something wrong. Glad you like the planter!

    Hildred and Charles, Thanks; the annuals do help to add color when the perennials fade.

  26. I see you favor the pinks in annuals? Looking around my garden, I think I buy a lot of pink annuals, too, especially amongst my zinnias. Love the zinnias!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  27. Leslie, How nice to have a full-time gardener:) My hubby is interested in vegetables only.

    Sue, I had planned to wait until later in the season to review my annuals, but it worked out well today. Will have to check out yours!

    Cheryl, I wonder why petunias don't do well for you; of course, I plant them only in containers and I only use the vining Supertunias. I'm not sure how well they would do in the ground here. The annuals do add a lot of color to the garden.

    Ackworth, apricot/peach is one of my favorite colors.

    Nonizamboni, Yes, I like to look at photos of my annuals, too, while the wind howls in January:) Isn't Victoria Blue a great flower?

    W2W, I'm glad the zinnias are doing well for you, too. I can't wait till my tall ones bloom.

    Joanna, Victoria Blue salvia is very different from the red you mention; it also comes in white. Taller and much, much prettier!

    Reader Wil, And thank YOU for the compliment on my garden.

    MMD, if you like pink, the "Raspberry Blast" is a definite winner. I wasn't sure about the combo in the planter, so thanks for the vote! Today was serendipity:)

    Carol, Yes, I seem to be drawn to pink:) There is some yellow here, but you won't find any orange!

    Richies, Thanks, and thanks for visiting!

  28. What a perfect 'A'...and a beautiful garden...

  29. I wish all of your readers could really see how lovely your planter is. Your photo, while good, just doesn't show how fantastic it really is. :) And the container with the raspberry splash is just gorgeous! I know I have been so happy your recommended it to me. It's one that I will plant again and again. Same goes for the Victoria Blue salvia. I have been more than pleased with it. I do have some planted in the garden beds and it's doing beautifully as well.

    Great post-full of wonderfully colorful blooms. I can't believe you had the energy to put this together after our day out!

  30. Wow, Rose, these are just fabulous. I too am a lantana fan, and though i like zinnias a lot, I never grow them. They do well in the Valley, but we don't get enough heat (too much fog) for them to do as well as they do in the more sunny, hot Valley. Salvias are awesome and do well for me.

  31. Amazing annuals - the planter box is something I would love to have...I've tried all sorts of petunias but didn't plant any annuals this year and miss them, so next year... Beautiful pictures!

  32. May be Asissi will be on the route for next visit
    Will certainly return to Verona for another Opera event

  33. Your annuals are marvelous Rose. When I see your zinnias it makes me want to make another garden of just them.

  34. Rose - it's very satisfying when you have just the thing to combine 2 memes together isn't it?

    Now why didn't I think of doing the same for my submission for MMD?!

  35. So pretty:)

    Lovely Lantanas, my mum has some in her garden but I like the colour of yours better!

  36. Those are truly super petunias. Your zinnias deserve the rave. Thanks for the welcome splash of color on my grey day.

  37. Hi Rose,
    Have you ever thought about writing for promotional magazines or flyers about their flowers? I love your descriptions. The really give you a good idea of the plant's character. You'd sell me everything!

    Love your pics too, and the colours you've chosen. Just beautiful!

  38. Carol, Thank you!

    Beckie, Thanks for those kind words. I do think photographs just don't capture the full effect, either. I had a wonderful day on Tuesday!

    Jodi, Zinnias grow well here, but I wish I could say the same for poppies:)

    Tumblewords, I like the new Supertunias; they do better for me than any other kind.

    Arne, Sounds wonderful! Assisi was the only small town we visited, so I don't know if it's typical or not.

    Lisa, I wish I'd planted more this year! I need to dig up more turf for all I want to add next year:)

    VP, Since I have trouble posting more than twice a week, covering two topics in one is always a boon!

    Suburbia, Thanks, and I love the new colors of lantana, plus they have such catchy names.

    Sarah, The really beautiful zinnias are yet to come. Wishing you a little sunshine...and me a little rain:)

    Wendy, Thank you--you are so good at building up my self-esteem! I have managed to "sell" a few plants to customers in garden centers before...only I wasn't a paid employee:)

  39. I love annuals for their constant (hopefully) color in the garden. That light pink petunia is a doll.

  40. rose,

    wonderful captures of your annuals. i love the way the container is so lush and spilling over with great looking colour. my zinnias are finally looking pretty. i planted green envy and others. i put out salvia seed and have none. next year i will plant some from starters. i put some lantana in with my pansies and they are doing nicely.
    hope you are having a wonderful summer.

  41. What a lovely blog! My sister (Janet... Queen of Seaford) said you have some Crape Myrtle questions? I'm zone 5, in KS - would be happy to help if I can.
    There are some pix up on the dogs' blog (this profile) - just enter "crape myrtle" in the search engine at the blog. Also feel free to email me at bagsbyKZK at gmail dot com.

  42. Now, that was a great post. I have to agree about the Supertunias and the Profusion Zinnias. They are fine plants. I planted my first annual Phlox this year. Can't remember the name right now, but it's done really well. My apricot zinnias always bleach out in the hot sun to yellow and become kind of peachy when the cooler fall weather rolls around. Perhaps yours are doing the same. Lovely.~~Dee

  43. It's so interesting to see salvias on your list of great annuals - they're perennials for me! And those two, the Black and Blue and Victoria Blue are two of my favorites. The hummers love them. I'm with you on the lantana (another perennial for me). They've come up with so many interesting lantanas recently! Love your petunia selections and I think the combos look great.

  44. Oh my, the flowerbox is wonderful!


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