Annual flowers complete their life cycle – vegetative plant, bloom, setting seed, death of the plant – in one growing season. Most annuals need to be replanted each year, though there are some that easily re-sow themselves. Their seed which could be scattered by wind, weather and wildlife, will pop up the next season when conditions are favourable. These unexpected visitors are usually called “volunteers” and can be a delight to see again or a source of frustration, depending on your outlook and how rigidly you follow the garden’s original design! Larkspur, cornflower, poppies, desert marigold, calendula, scarlet flax, gaillardia and Johnnyjump-ups are a few flowers that are easy to grow and readily reseed.
Annuals are loved for their riotous colours, they are very quick to perform [especially if transplants are used], and provide relatively long periods of bloom – usually all season until the first frost. Annuals are particularly useful to conceal bare spots while landscape plants become established; create masses of color as a focal point; or fill containers to establish a cheerful presence at entryways and entertainment areas of the yard. At the end of the annual’s growing season, the entire plant tossed away and the spot is ready for another annual to take its place following the season.
Many of us gardeners find it fun to experiment with different annuals. Simply, if you don’t like the colour combinations you chose, plant something else next season. You have all winter to plan what’s next.
My ruffled pansies have been ever so reliable this year… and so cute, too.
I am a little surprised at myself for letting these pansies stay in the garden past spring. These flowers have never been a real favourite, but I’m liking them more and more each time I look at them and how well they are complimenting my garden this year.