A couple of weeks ago I did several posts looking at plants we love to not so much love, and included a few annuals on my list of plants I don't particularly want in my garden. They're fine and wonderful and just not my thing. Now it's time to look at some that I am very fond of.
We'll start with lantana. It's a strange plant; I know it's perennial in warmer parts of the world, and even invasive and a nuisance in some areas. Here, it's a tender annual, flinching at the first sign of cold weather, pouting and dying when frost whispers around the containers. But I adore it. It's an important plant for pollinators, and the flowers are just SO cool with their varying shades in each flowerhead of florets. This one is called 'Sunrise Rose'. It's well named, wouldn't you say?
Invariably I lose labels and names of annuals despite the best of intentions. These, for the record, are all annuals that come in individual pots, higher priced than the flats of grown from seed plants. I use them exclusively in containers around our gardens and yard, and tend towards bright, strong colours.
This will grow from seed, although this particular strain is a hybrid, either 'Wildcat Blue' or 'Skylover.' The plant is Anagallis, or blue pimpernel, or Poor Man's Weatherglass; I love it for its cobalt blue flowers, and its funky habit of closing up its flowers when the weather gets cloudy.
Osteospermums are definitely one of my favourites. This is one of the softer coloured ones, and I tend usually towards the richer ones, but I like its unique clean form. And osteos are interesting because they are fussy in the spring, but once they get established, they're so tough and flower until a hard frost or snow takes them out.
Ahem. This is a fabulous verbena. It didn't need cossetting and deadheading to keep it flowering until the cold weather sent me out to dump the last of the containers. I should have taken a cutting, because not only do I not know its name...I have NO idea where I got it. Sigh. Note to self. Go back to Gardening Gone Wild and study the GBDWorkshop on labels and records....
Pansies make me smile. I don't care if they're common, or slug bait, or whatever else some dismiss them with. They are simply beautifully happy flowers, and this antique shades collection are among my favourites.
I never used to grow ageratum at all. Then the plant breeders got interesting with colour changing and came up with some deep rose and even wine coloured varieties. Add that to the fact that pollinators love them, and they've taken a place in my container plantings.
Lobelias can be problematic because they tend to melt down in hot weather. However, there have been several heat-resistant varieties recently, including the Laguna and Technoheat series, and they perform very well for me all season long.
Torenias will take some shade, I've found in recent years, providing they don't get too wet. This little darling is called 'Lovely Yellow'. And isn't she wellnamed?
Nemesia is easy to grow from seed, but there are some beautiful new cultivar series that I really, really like. This is called Opal Innocence, and even though it's more pastel than most of my choices, it's so striking I had to have it. As an added bonus, it has a wonderful scent, sort of like baby-powder but not cloying. I hope to see it around this spring.
And this is a bit of an acquiescence to Anna and her love of petunias. It's a Callie, or actually it's a super-callie, a beefed up cross between callies and petunias. This one is called 'Terra Cotta' and it's a definite favourite because the hummingbirds love it. That's always good enough for me!