Tag Archives: annuals

Beauty in Autumn


Chrysanthemum “Duchess of Edinburgh”

Under an impossibly blue, brilliant sky, golden leaves rain down on the garden bellow. The cool temperatures suit these fall bloomers. They offer the last gift of color for us and nourishment to pollinators before the leaves start to come down for a last hurrah!



Asters are classic fall bloomers.  Don’t you love them? A full 250 cultivars have been classified, covering a wide spectrum of colors, native and perennial.  These are a perennial variety I have enjoyed for decades.  I buy Asters, Chrysanthemums and other fall bloomers to plant in spring, I then almost forget them. Always makes me happy when I see them burst out just when I thought the garden was done!



Sold as an annual, Melampodium reseeds itself every year. I collect and scatter its seeds were I want them in other parts of the garden. Also a drought resistant plant and best of all, deer have do not go after them! Very tidy and showy mounds full of blooms! at this time of the year it is like a basket of sunshine.


Tall Sedum and annual Browallia

I grow this tall Sedum sp. in my pots and add a variety of annuals each year in the spring. Deer love them and always eat them in the garden. They do well in pots and awaken every spring even more energized than the year before! Their succulent foliage is very attractive in early spring and drought resistant which makes them a great plant if you don’t want to water all that much! The late blooms at times appear alive as pollinators flock to enjoy their nectar!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Great Plant Pairings Series

Brunnera 'Dawson's White and Louisiana Iris 'Red Velvet'

Brunnera ‘Dawson’s White and Louisiana Iris ‘Red Velvet’

This combination stopped me on my tracks a couple of days ago.  They are planted next to a Darmera peltatum, with its gigantic leaves that make quite a statement.

 Darmera peltatum, and Equisetum

Darmera peltatum, and Equisetum

Here is Darnera, or Umbrella Plant, today. An exotic plant on its own, but paired with Equisetum or Horsetail, well, I love the effect.  The photo does not do it justice. I love how Darnera awakens in the spring setting out an elegant sphere that opens into a single compounded flower:

 Darmera peltatum, blooms

Darmera peltatum, blooms

The leaves in the background are not part of this plant.  It is Alchemilla mollis or Lady’s Mantle. Darnera does not put out any foliage until the flower turns into a beautiful bunch of red berries.  This photo was taken May 2.

Both plants are in a fairly wet area of the garden and they have made it through some pretty harsh winters. Deer resistant too, has not been bothered at all since planted  three years ago.

“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”
–  Francis Bacon 

Recommended Plant and Seed Catalogs

2015 catalogues1

Happy New Year to all of you frustrated gardeners and faithful readers! I know that, at this time of the year, the only thing that keeps me dreaming and excited about the upcoming gardening season is the steady influx of wonderful seed, plant and garden supply catalogs.  A good catalog is that which encompasses several criteria: selection, great photos and most important, detailed information and growing tips. I usually save them through out  the growing season as they are a great guide to each individual variety, specifying germination times and date of maturity this can vary quite substantially within each cultivar. Having said all that here is a few of my best picks.

  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Beautifully illustrated all organic and non GMO seeds.  Specializes in heirloom varieties. A real treat!
  • Jung Seeds and Plants.   Very nice selection  of hard to find small fruit shrubs.  Has been around for over one hundred years.
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds I would call this a book!  Vegetables, plants and garden supplies.  A lot of hybrids but also organic and non GMO seed.
  • Burpee We all know their seeds, covers everything from seed to supplies. Many amazing hybrids and they have a strict non-GMO policy.
  • Bluestone Perennials If you are a perennial garden  enthusiast, This is one catalogue you must have. Plants are listed alphabetically and I really like their easy to understand plant symbols with planting information and requirements.
  • Select Seeds Rare antique and heirlooms variety of perennial and annual flowers.  Many showy varieties you will not find in the nursery trade.
  • Pinetree Garden Seeds and Accessories Organic non-GMO vegetable seeds, flowers and all kinds of accessories.  Most notable a line of botanical cosmetics, teas, spices and soap making  supplies.

“Seeds have the power to preserve species, to enhance cultural as well as genetic diversity, to counter economic monopoly and to check the advance of conformity on all its many fronts.”
Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

And the Winner is…



 Melampodium divaricatum

By far, this annual is my favorite this year.  I planted it from a small plug in late June and promptly  went away for a month. Did not give it a second thought until I came back and was blown away!  A compact 24 inch tall and wide and loaded with small star shaped blooms.  This photo was taken yesterday.  It is quite a sight with spent perennials tired and colorless all around.   The thing that is impressive, is that it required no watering or fertilizers, rabbits and deer left it alone and it has bloomed all summer and still going strong.  This is a winner I must recommend, specially if you have trouble with deer eating your Rudbeckia, or Black Eye Susan.  I have read that it reseeds which I will welcome after this year’s performance!

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
― Victor HugoLes Misérables







Container Gardening

A garden in an old tree stump.

Driving around town I come across so many ‘commercial landscapes’ – wonderful clean edging, neatly trimmed shrubs,  impeccable lawns, –  It all feels so impersonal somehow.  But add a few container plantings to these landscapes and the entire scene is transformed!  Colorful containers are like a ray of sunshine that attracts the eye and brightens the garden.  The plant combinations are as limitless as the color schemes, even black flowered Petunias and Violas, more on  that here,  which are all the rage.

Petunias, Heliotrope 'Fragrant delight', Sutera 'Gold and pearls' .

Whatever your style, from formal plantings to creative or funky container combinations, now is the time to put them together!  Some of my favorite annuals:  Heliotrope, with its purple fragrant clusters, Calibrachoa in an amazing array of colors, Sutera, a trailing beauty available in pinks, purples and white.  Do you have a favorite annual for containers?

Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.  ~John Ruskin

Container Gardens

containers3One of my most anticipated chores in spring is the planning of the container gardens. Because of the deer problem, I use containers for annuals that would otherwise be eaten. One of my favorite plants for the last couple of years is Heliotrope ‘Fragrant Delight’ (center). It gives large clusters of very fragrant purple flowers. They last up to a month each. I paired with purple petunias of different shades and common marigold in a bright mellow yellow. Trailing in front is a new find, Sutera hybrid ‘Gold ‘n Pearls’. It is really doing a good job and it is about a foot long now.