MY NEW PLANTING BEDS – the ones at the front of my property, that started out last fall as piles of dead oak leaves, supplemented by topsoil and compost – are now almost as green as they are brown, with lots of perennials transplanted from upstate, a few purchases, and donations from friends. Those perennials — salvia, astilbe, catmint, ladies mantle, ligularia, and irises — aren’t blooming yet, and probably won’t put on much of a show this year. Hence all the green. Foliage, but no flowers.
I wanted flowers and I wanted them now. What to do? Hmm, I mused…if only there was a way to get flowers right away. Then it hit me: there is! Annuals!!!
It might seem self-evident to you, but I had never done much with annuals, except window boxes and containers. Putting annuals in the ground always seemed like cheating. I was a perennials snob. Annuals are common. And stiff. The stuff of Victorian ‘bedding schemes.’
But this year, I didn’t care. So – having lit upon this annuals notion, I took myself to Agway in Bridgehampton, where the flats are $16 (that passes for cheap here in the Humptons), and I bought myself a half-dozen flats of some rather pedestrian annuals, sticking to a refined palette of white, yellow, and purple. Of course, they had to be deer-resistant and shade tolerant, except for some marigolds for the sunniest area (at least it was sunny before the oak trees leafed out this week).
Here’s what I got:
Begonia Bada Boom – bronze foliage, white flowers
Ageratum Hawaii Blue – commonest of the common, but I’ll give them a chance
Celosia Fresh Look Gold – I’m excited about these – chartreuse foliage, yellow plumes, and they grow tall
Marigold Sweet Cream – big off-white flowers
Marigold Durango Yellow
Dusty Miller Silverdust – these may be perennials here
And I couldn’t resist some Ipomoea – sweet potato vine. Remember when these became popular about 10 years back? There were just a couple of types, and they were always so satisfying as ‘spillers’ in pots and window boxes. The other day, I saw many variations, all from Proven Winners, from bronze to purple to yellowish green, with leaves of different shapes. I bought several, and put them in the beds as groundcovers, which I’ve never tried.
As I was planting this morning, I tried to weave the little cell-pack annuals in and out naturalistically, rather than lining them up in rows like some, you know, Victorian bedding scheme.
Photos to follow when they fill out a little. Oh – I’ll need more. I ran a bit short. Since my Agway excursion, I checked out Wittendale’s in East Hampton which, though more expensive ($20/flat), has a more interesting, extensive selection. Can’t wait!
Are you doing annuals this year?