Dusting off the good old fashioned Yates garden guide because I get the feeling flowering annuals are coming back into vogue. It’s time to invest in some instant colour for the garden. Traditionally I have had a busy lifestyle packed with full time work, household jobs and raising children. Water-wise gardens and low maintenance have been key words to satisfy my gardening needs. So I have decided to invest in some therapeutic garden space where I can create colour, work the soil and have flowers to bring inside the house for sheer pleasure and a touch of nostalgia. March sees the weather changing as we head into autumn so it’s time to turn over your soil and apply a fresh layer of organic fertiliser and mulch. Get your hands dirty and start planting!
Most annuals enjoy a sunny spot especially over winter when the sun is not so harsh. In season to plant are delightful Pansies with all sorts of delicious colour combinations. I went with the timeless mixed Giants, some of the new releases are just stunning if you have a particular colour theme in mind. I just couldn’t pick a colour, I wanted them all. Look out for Pansy spreading violet wings and Pansy purple lace. Sweet peas make a lovely display with masses of dainty pastel coloured flowers; try Sweet pea ‘bubbles’ they are ideal for cut flowers reaching up to 90 centimetres in height and for plants that are useful for a border or pots, try the dwarf variety Sweet pea ‘bijou’.
The divine perfume of Matthiola incana, commonly called Stock is a stunning display of floral spikes containing mainly double or single flowers. Stock ‘imperial’ is a tall variety and may require some support as it can reach up to 50 centimetres. They look and smell fantastic grown in groups and clusters to show off the mass display of colours in autumn and winter. Stock are wonderful in vases and bring a real vintage feel to English gardens and cottage gardens with antique shades of rose, blue, carmine, yellow, red and lilac.
Nasturtiums quickly fill an area low to the ground. The Nasturtium ‘princess of india’ is particularly gorgeous with scarlet red flowers which are a bit different to the traditional orange. Nasturtiums add that extra interest in the edible garden too as both the flowers and leaves can be added to your salads and eaten.
Annuals are a quick way to fill up space or empty spots. Basically they are called annuals because they complete their life cycle in one year which means you have to replace them when they finish flowering. Many will set seed for you and you are sure to get a few free plants for next year out of them anyway. Your annuals are fast growing so they will need to be planted with some fertiliser and watered regularly, dead head finished flowers to encourage more to develop and sit back and enjoy the colour canvas you have created.