Annuals, I Love You Yearly

Perennials are great. They’re like the adults in the garden. Reliable, loyal and steadfast, they hold down the flower bed through the winter, provide year-round stability, and proudly bring their young bloomers in to make a relatively brief appearance year after year.

Annuals have a whole different spirit when they spring from the soil. Vivacious, bold and playful, and exploding with energy, they’re always the first to arrive, the last to leave and the life of the party as long as they stay. Maybe that’s why I love annuals so much, even though I know they’ll leave me in the fall, and I’ll have to start all over with new ones yearly.

Fortunately, annuals and perennials make excellent bed-mates, so I don’t have to choose between them.

Sometimes, when designing gardens, I choose certain annuals to complement particular flowers and plants or to highlight focal point areas in the yard or garden. Other times, I like to put them right into the planting bed en masse.

These are from a package of zinnia seeds. They add so much life to this yard.

Here, lush plantings of perennials—verbena, rosemary, sedum and daylillies, with a grand hydrangea in the center—fill the bed behind a casual rock wall. They provide an interesting array of textures, various shades of green and some colorful blooms. But it’s the annuals, with their eye-catching, pop-ups of color peeking out from the perennials that make a splash in this garden.

Annuals can be used to add a spontaneous, wildflower-like feeling to a natural landscape, but they also work very nicely in a more formal setting. The bed of colorful annuals gathered around a tall, canna perennial looks quite sophisticated against the manicured lawn.

Annuals or perennials? Many of the nine different plants in this lively flower bed are technically perennials, but we treat them as annuals in North Georgia because they usually can’t handle the winter temperatures. Although most won’t survive here more than one season—without a lot of babying—they are so pretty, they’re worth replanting every spring.

Here’s the roster of residents in this bed:  Duranta, Lantana , Zinnia, Salvia , Scaevola , Black-eyed Susan (perennial), Purple Heart, and big leaf Glory Bush. How many names can you correctly match with the plants?

Annuals, perennials or both…no garden is really complete without a cat, in my opinion.

Why not add some annuals to your next garden or landscape project?


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