Annual Flowers and Plants to Grow in Your Flower Garden
Annual Flowers and Plants
By their very nature, annual flowers and plants, andhave to be prolific flowerers, for it is upon the production of adequate seed each year that their future depends, and many of them are gay, colourful plants in the wild.
The fact that their life span is comparatively short means that plant breeders have been able to achieve a lot of work in a reasonably brief time. This in itself has meant that it has been easy to breed even more spectacular and colourful strains, and many of thethat we now grow have very mixed parentage and often bear lithe resemblance to their wild counterparts.
Not only has it been fairly simple to create new colours and larger flowers, but the very habits of the plants have often been changed drastically. Antirrhinums and asters range in height from 15cm (6in) to 75cm (2-1/2ft) or more, and even the tall and stately sweet pea can now be obtained in a form that grows only 30cm (1ft) high.
All this means a wealth of colour is freely available to brighten every corner of the garden, from a bed devoted to annuals alone, to the odd sprinkling used to fill up what would otherwise be a bare patch among shrubs or.
The value of hardy annual flowers and plants to fill in between more permanent plants while they are becoming established should never be underestimated. A newly planted heather bed, for example, can look rather stark for the first season or two, but by choosing a low-growing annual such as Alyssum ‘Oriental Night’ it can be transformed into a spectacular sight: a deep violet-purple carpet between the heathers from July to November, and a superb plant association.
Some annual flowers and plants and biennials, do not strictly fall into those categories (the antirrhinum, for example is strictly a perennial), and the criterion for inclusion is whether they are usually treated as an annual or biennial. Even some biennials can be sown early under glass and flowered the first year, which is half-hardy annual treatment. Conversely manycan be sown in the autumn of one year to flower early the next. The best treatment is given in each specific entry.
If a greenhouse is available the scope is widened considerably because there are so many delightful, but even if such facilities are not on hand it is still possible to enjoy these plants. Most annuals and biennials can be bought as bedding plants in late spring or early summer, although the choice of cultivar is often restricted. If just a few plants are required it may be possible to raise them on a light windowsill, but it will be essential to turn the plants regularly to even the directional influence of the light.
Whether you raise your own plants or buy them, half-hardy annuals must be hardened off thoroughly and carefully — and that means gradually. To be sure of success, don’t plant before the risk of frost has passed, always ensure that they have been well hardened, and water regularly until established.
Unless this can be done it is better to grow plants that can be treated as hardy annual flowers and plants or biennials — the range is large.