Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Annuals in the Garden

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By September, our perennial beds are starting to look a little tired … the colors are not as vibrant and foliage is starting to look a bit ratty.  That is certainly not the case for our Community Gardens that are filled with annuals!

As I walk through our Community Gardens, I am reminded why every garden is better with a collection of hardy and tender plant material.  Trees and shrubs provide year-round structure and interest – they are the bones of the garden.  Perennials are the work horse of the garden – coming up year after year and also provide structure as well as color, form and texture.  Annuals are only in the garden for one growing season but provide a special pop of color and are great for filling in empty spaces.

The problem with annuals, however, is that they can take several weeks to establish roots if it is a cool, wet spring.  I often have a bad attitude about large plantings of annuals for this reason – we plant them after the frost free date in May and then (because of our finicky Iowa spring weather) don’t see any significant growth until the first week in June.  But then I always have a change of heart late summer and fall when they are still happily blooming while the perennials are starting to go into hibernating mode.

For this reason, a collection of hardy and tender plant material is best in my book.  As I walk through our gardens at the Arboretum, I am looking for spaces that could use some late season color – I want every space to look as cheery and welcoming as our Community Gardens still look!

Need a little eye candy to start your day?  Here are a few annuals still looking great at the Arboretum:

        

(left to right: coleus, petunia, zinnia and lantana)

        

(left to right: gomphrena, salvia, pentas and coleus)

 

 

See you in the gardens.

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Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

September 27, 2011 at 6:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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