The lone voice of horticultural reason

“Annuals bloom all summer long”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever read this line in a garden magazine article about planning and planting a perennial garden: “And don’t forget to include pockets of annuals, for season-long color.”

It’s a myth. Even in Minnesota, which has a gardening season of May through mid-October (if we’re lucky), I can’t think of very many annuals that will look good and deliver blooms across our entire six, six-and-a-half month growing season. A sternly pinched coleus, perhaps, or impatiens in the shade.  For those of you in places like Nebraska and Missouri, Georgia and Texas, well, come on.

You’re not a bad gardener because the annuals you planted in April or May look like hell by mid-August (or the 4th of July). You’re simply learning that the gardening industry tells the odd fib. Deadhead your annuals, learn which ones will take a good mid-season shearing, but when they stop blooming and start drooping, rip them out and plant fresh ones.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener