As I drive around town, all the annuals that other people have/the town has are nice and big and bloomy with wonder.
Mine look like poop. I know I put a lot of love and care into mine, I'm sure more so than the something on the island in the middle of the main road gets. So what gives???
I dig a nice big hole, twice the size that I need. I loosen the roots making sure not to damage or rip them as much as possible. I put them in, pack the soil around. Give them a nice soak and continue to water every day. I've tried several plants foods and I've tried nothing.
I usually have fresh mulch, but not this year.
My neighbor's garden with the same type of soil is beautiful.
Are you growing the same plants as the others? Are they getting the same sun exposure as the others? Maybe you are watering them too much? Hard to tell without more specifics like plants, growing conditions, and culture.
I agree with hcmcdole, more info required, like did you prepare the soil for planting like digging it over to break it up and allow air into the soil, did you add things like humus / compost / or store purchased ready mixed compost for summer bedding, have you added plant feed to the soil, like fish / bone and blood, this is a slow release feed and would last more or less all season.
Over feeding is as bad as NO feeding, over watering is also bad, stick your finger into soil and see AFTER watering IF the water has got down the way or has it run off the surface.
Have you grown the same plants before, and if so, how did they do.
Look close at the pretty full borders your comparing your with, maybe they have planted many more plants per foot than you have, like 3 plants in a large pot will never look as good or full of blooms beside the one that is crammed with plants, well fed (not over fed) well watered, dead headed every other day as that keeps the plants making more flowers.
So there will be many reasons your show of plants are NOT as showy as the neighbours, you will need to go take a close look at the beds or borders your comparing with, maybe give us a few pictures to help you get a better show if not for this year but with early prep for nect year.
Good luck and kind Regards.
My soil is a pretty good texture. After moving here I completely ripped up all the gardens, tilled them up with manure and replanted... twice (or more).
I try different stuff every year. Marigolds, inpatients, petunias (those are doing too bad), pansies.
Last year I noticed they did a lot of the waxy begonia's in the islands and sides of the busy roads. So I thought if they can hold up to that kind of abuse I should try them out. You can't even see mine.
I water once a day around 4-5 when the sun goes down (NH). I go over everything once, than come back and do it again after it's had a little time to sink in. I do it until it looks good and wet, than come back around and do it again a little bit.
I usually don't put anything in the hole first. I do know my neighbor does the pete moss and manure in the hole.
I'll try and get some pics soon.
I did have some luck with this fine little white stuff one year. I never new the name, it was real pretty.
I'm curious why you're watering every day? It sounds extremely excessive, unless you're trying to grow what would normally be bog or marginal plants (and I doubt you are).
Plants need to be watered in when planted in the ground, but thereafter, usually need watering about every 10 days or 2 weeks or so, if there's no rain in that time.
Watering all depends on the type of soil you have, the zone your in and the shade / sun you get. also the type of plants your watering.
I live UK, we consider this cool and still I have to water my tubs, borders or hanging baskets every evening, very rarely do I miss doing this as the compost or garden soil once allowed to dry out, is very difficult to get soaked again.
Plenty of nice compost, manure, well rotted or home made compost helps the soil retain water added air to the soil, helps break up the structure allowing the roots to spread.
I honestly think you need to take pictures of the good presentation of the neighbours plantings, and then your own, look see how many plants are in their beds /pots / containers. I think you might find they have packed more into a small space compared to yours, they might also be feeding their plants, they might have bought ready to plant small plantlet's, these will be way more mature than yours, another thing to consider, have you nipped out the growing tips of your seedlings when small, you need to do this with a lot of bedding / annuals as this helps the plants make nice new side shoots making the plants way more bushier than yours.
Hope all this gives you some food for thought and helps you improve your own growing conditions, BUT if your watering the soil and it's NOT required, then Annuals don't like wet soil and this wet soil is cold around the roots too.
Best of luck.
Yes, watering pots every day may be required (sometimes two to three times a day if it is super hot and the plants are super thirsty) but watering plants in the ground every day may be too much. Most plants like to dry out a little before they are watered again.
Bonadea, you live in U.S. hardiness zone 5b, the same as me and my garden is mostly very healthy so I think I can be of particular assistance to you. Derry has about 43 inches of annual rainfall which is a few inches less than my town, but generally we have the same New England weather. Since hardly any of your plants are doing well, this is a complex problem so it would be easier if you focused on one area first. Please describe one region of your garden including the geography (slope or flat), approximately how many hours sunlight it gets, how you are watering (hose, sprinklers, etc.), and what plants are in the area and how well each one is doing.
The attached photo is of our South Garden, which was taken at the end of June. I never cover my plants so all these plants endured the brutal winter and are doing fine. This garden only gets a few hours of daylight so it's mostly hydrangeas, a Carolina Allspice (big plant on far left), and hostas. I splurged and planted an Earnest Markham clematis which is blooming for the second time this year and the Quickfire hydrangea is beginning to bloom this week. - Nancy G.
I understood the question was about Annual plants, Not Perennials that stay in the ground year after year.
Can you give a list of the type of Annual plants you are trying to grow,
Can you say IF you grew the plants from seed.
Can you mention IF you bought plants ready to be set out in the garden OR did you grow the seeds indoors and transplanted the small plants in the garden, pots, baskets etc.
Some Annuals don't like root disturbance, like Annual poppies etc. ALL need to have the flowers removed when they have started to become sad, dying or turning soft, IF you don't remove these dead / dying flowers, the plants think it's time to make seeds and stop making more flowers. you end up with straggly looking plants.
Deadheading forces / tricks the plant into thinking it needs to make more flowers as there sole purpose of annual plants is to germinate, grow and make flowers, set seeds and die, all in the same year so deadheading allows the flowers to continue forming.
You do say you water the plants every day BUT, you don't tell us how much water you give, is by hose, watering can, sprinklers, is it morning, evening, after the sun has gone down or when sun is full out onto the plants.
More info would give us all a better chance to get you the right help you need as in some respects, were NOT getting to the bottom of your strife.
It's so hard for you when your trying so hard to make a nice patch of flowering garden BUT each time you feel bad about the results. We gardeners all have times like that or when we started off perhaps we just never understood all the needs of the plants so don't give up. Were all trying to help you out but just need a bit more info re what the name / type of plants it is your struggling with.
can you get back with the answers I've asked you for. OR better still, a picture of the plants.
WeeNel, thanks for pointing that out! I forgot Bonadea was asking about annuals specifically. I never plant annuals because I like easy gardening. Once I find a home for a plant I just leave it there, and if it can't survive the winter I won't get another.
Thanks everyone. We've been going going going since Thursday so I haven't had a chance to get any pics yet.
This year, all my annuals are store bought, different stores. Now that you asked, I'm thinking back and generally my ones I do from seeds do pretty well.
The land is flat in the areas I do the annuals.
I water those by hose. It gets a lot of direct sun all day, so the soil looks very very very dry by the end of the day. It gets that grey look about it in the pots. I water it until it looks good and wet, than I come back over for a quick refresh. I stand there about a minute maybe. I back off if we get a good rain. I tend to do it more when I first plant them, than once I feel they've established I might go every other day. Right now this year I'm still just about every day though.
I've been watching hard all weekend, I wonder if other people buy them bigger to begin with? I tend to buy them small, in a flat. I wonder if they're buying them by the pot.
All the petunias are doing pretty well.
I bought this little purple things, they are all drying up.
The pansies didn't seem to like it anywhere. I put them all over the place in different amounts of sun.
The wazy begonias are keeping, but not getting any bigger.
I bought this short purple things that are just dying. I'm guessing too much sun for those. They didn't have a tag or I went into some blind flower buying binge as usual. :)
Bonadea, I see you have potted annuals as well as some planted in a garden bed. I'm glad the petunias are doing well. I've never grown pansies but I read they require full sun so I don't know why those aren't doing well in your garden. I gave up growing wax begonias outdoors because the Massachusetts humidity rots their leaves.
I have lovely potted begonias growing indoors because they seem to like dry air. Also begonias feed a lot so you should fertilize them at least once a month. When I started fertilizing wax begonias they grew about four times bigger than before. They also prefer rich potting soil and daily watering.
As for blind flower binges, I do not recommend buying flowers without knowing if they are right for your zone. I bought a lot of warm weather plants when I first started gardening and many died in a few weeks. I know the reason people get annuals is for a few months of glorious blooms and then throw them away. Still, MA has cool summer nights so it's not the same as in hotter climates and we also have early and late cold frosts so it's always safer to buy plants for your local zone.
For potted plants I recommend Veronica Tidal Pool which can tolerate full sun and drought. They have small roots and 6" vines that look nice in pots and the purple flowers look very "English Garden". Candlestick veronica are also great for full sun. Unlike Veronicas, Celosia will die in autumn but they love the summer heat and grow very well in MA.
I removed the catmint from my garden because it takes too long to begin growing in my zone 5 region, but I guess it will begin growing by May 1st at your zone. It blooms in the spring for a month then the flowers die and you cut it to 2" high, then the vines grow one or two feet and bloom again in late summer and autumn. Also, you might wish to get a drip irrigation system for $20 to save time watering. I also recommend experimenting with fertilizers and soil amendments like greensand which is supposed to make plants more drought tolerant. - Nancy G.
I don't know about NH and growing pansies in summer. We cannot grow pansies in summer in Atlanta - too hot but they are wonderful fall to spring plants in full sun.
Wax begonias should have a little shade during the hottest part of the day and need to be watered when they dry out some but if they are continuously watered they often rot.
Just because the top of the soil looks dry does not mean that there isn't ample moisture in the ground. Wilt is natural for a lot of plants (big leaf hydrangeas are famous for this). The leaves should pop back up once the hot sun is off them. If they don't pop up in the evening or morning (depending on when you do your watering) then it can mean one of two things - one is it needs water or two the roots are rotting from too much water (hopefully it is the first of the two conditions).
Small starter plants will get as big as the bigger potted plants if you give them some time. Why pay a lot more for a bigger potted plant unless you want a centerpiece for a party the same day? A smaller plant is your better choice - you can get a lot more for the same price as a bigger pot and if you lose one then you haven't lost a lot of money. For instance I bought some rex begonias recently at a nursery where the four inch pots were $6 each but if I went to the six inch pots they were $15 each. I bought ten of the four inch and are doing wonderful in my begonia wall.
Do Gooder, there's no harm done, I was just getting confused LOL, well that's my excuse for old age, ha, ha, ha.
Like you, I avoid planting Annuals UNLESS in pot's and containers, I like value for my money and if it's not hardy for salty air, cant recover when the winter storms strip the leaves of some of my shrubs, and then the Perennials have to stand loud and proud or they get the boot. my garden is way too big to be worrying about some delicate little plant. I've been there and done all that thinking it was my fault BUT, we all have to learn, some plants are NOT for us.
You have a great gardening season and take good care.
As long as the sun gets to them some of the day, the hydrangea tree should not be a problem. Are you growing similar plants of your neighbors? If theirs is doing great and yours is not, you might ask them what their secret is.
The begonias are in full sun? I would give them only morning to noon sun.
Try some granular fertilizer to see if you can't jump start these plants. Water for a few days to see some progress. Nothing wrong with manure but I think you'd be better off with commercial fertilizer to begin with. Peat moss adds a little organic mix to the soil and helps keep the moisture in (once it gets wet). Some mulch to keep the moisture in the soil would probably be better than peat moss though.
Bonadea, wax begonia leaves grow much bigger in a mostly shade area, so if you want a really full looking begonia plant you should place them in the shade with no more than a few hours of direct sun per day. You can also get red colors from zinnias and marigolds which will bloom better in a sunny location. If you want a bigger show of flowers try planting Dahlias, but sometimes they have to be staked.
Bonadea, I can only say what my experience is. I put wax begonias in full sun and they grew well but the leaves were 1 inch, whereas the ones I planted in shade had leaves that were 2-3 inches wide but fewer flowers. These were from a tray of plugs so they were the exact same kind of begonias. That's a nice group of plants in the photo, and I applaud you for getting the red rudbeckia. The ones around our home flower a long time and are full and healthy so I guess you will have good luck with those. - Nancy G.
They would have to keep wax begonias watered daily if in full sun. Try Dragon Wings - they are like wax begonias (actually one parent is a wax begonia) but they do take full sun as long as they don't dry out completely.
OK, here's another 2 penny worth from my side of the pond and around the same zone as you.
Here in UK because our winters are so wet and cold, we use Pansies as an in between winter and summer, this gives some colour while awaiting the temp to rise enough for the Annuals that we put in pot's, beds, containers and borders. The pansies UNLESS STATED as winter flowering, they don't like hot sunshine, they really struggle to keep flowering, the foliage shrivels up and they die off unless shaded from the intense heat. So make a note that it's NOT your fault, the stores should stop selling them after March.
IF you want to grow those eye catching Pansies plants, grow from seed starting them INDOORS around September /October, and they don't need heat, they don't need fancy lighting, all they require is to be sewn in a plant tray that has drainage holes in the bottom, buy from garden store along with SEED compost, wet the compost in the tray and allow excess water to drain away, (VERY FINE SEEDS) pinch a little of the seeds between finger and thumb, sprinkle it onto the compost,dont over fill with seeds remember they need room as they germinate. DONT COVER THES SEEDS, place onto a kitchen tray or something to prevent soiling paintwork IF your placing seeds close to furnishings / paintwork., allow the dappled sunlight to germinate the seedlings, they are erratic, when seedlings are large enough to lift (With help using pencil tip) hold the little plants by the first leaf and gently lift with the pencil to remove the plantlet, never touch the stems it causes wilt, you need another tray filled with potting compost wetted and levelled, make a hole in compost, help the plantlet into the hole and use the pencil and finger to gently close the hole you made, you should get about 5 plants across a row and about 8-10 down the tray depending the size of tray, gently water the plants in the tray to allow the compost to settle around the seedlings, let excess water drain away then place tray back into the window light, AT this stage you need to make sure you turn the tray around each day so the plants don't get tall and leggy searching for light, turning allows ALL the plants to get even share of light. Keep growing in the tray and when the plants have now grown a bushy size, 6-8 weeks, you can either repot them into individual pots getting them ready for planting out in early frost free spring, or place in pots / baskets etc in prep for growing outdoors, by FEB - March, the plants should be large enough to be going outside, BUT gradually harden them off over a few week, place outside for a few hours in a nice light area away from cold winds, then gradually build this time outside over a few weeks, this is so that when they are out for good, they are hardy and used to being outside.
You can make up the displays in there containers so you have them ready for leaving outside BUT you bring the containers in again every day for overnight protection, soon as sun drops down is best timing.
Hint for better show, the pots and planting areas you show in pictures have way too few plants in the area, if it were me, the larger container would have about 3 times the amount of little plantlets in this container, start at the centre, put a large plant /small annual type shrub looking plant, I like either an upright Fuchsia, or maybe 3 geraniums, stuff the plants close together, they are short lived annuals so they can touch the roots of the next plant, next circle of plant could be bright French Marigolds in Yellow or Orange, there are several sizes to choose from. add dark blue upright Lobelia, then add some foliage plants that have maybe yellow or white marking on the leaf, as you work your way towards the edge of the planters, you then add the trailing plants like More Lobelia but use the trailing type, then trailing Petunias trailing Geraniums, there are very many more different tubs and basket plants to select from BUT make it a pallet of colours that all look good together, think jar of brightly coloured jelly sweeties you see in the kids section and hate the thought of having to babysit the kid that's full of all those E numbers.
Make sure you next time buy PLANTS ready to be planted outside, the tiny plug plants are supposed to be potted on into larger pots to help them gain height and width ready to survive outdoors, Use good quality POTTING compost for tubs and containers as it has the proper type of mixture to allow the plants to mature, always dead head the dying flowers to encourage more flower duds to be produced, make sure the plants don't dry out at the roots, containers dry out very fast BUT always wise to stick your finger into compost and feel if still damp or dry before you over or under water. a really good soaking on an evening should last a few days whereas, a little water each day is no good to the plants as some water evaporates in the heat.
As for planting in the garden directly, you need to ready the soil before you plant, dig it over, add as much humus as you can, home made rotted compost is great as is well rotted horse manure, well rotter is when it looks 'fells crumbley in your hand and no horrid odour. or store purchased bags of compost is good then add some multi purpose plant feed as you dig in the humus. Most places who keep horses are glad for you to remove the rotted manure as they have a constant supply, so phone and ask for price or even delivery, a good truck load will cover a whole garden, if you cant use all at once, pile it away and cover it so the rain cant leach out all the nutrients, here we call it gardeners GOLD.
Never ever feed tiny seedlings, a seed holds everything a plantlet requires for germination and until is has began to grow, once they are growing well, that's early enough to give feeds or you cause very soft greenery to grow and the tiny root system cant cope with all that top growth, the roots need time to grow and spread out too.
Ithink I've about covered everything you need to get you off to a flying start for next spring, the best thing also is to try get a book from library for free, look at the gardening section and find easy to understand in plane English how to propagate, seeds growing, Patio planters etc and you will find it all comes easier to you than having a few failure (we all have those, believe me)
and ending up stopping the gardening you obviously want to learn properly how to do it. after you have got the basics, that's when we all start to adapt ways and methods that suit us, our time we have to work the garden BUT most importantly, how to enjoy doing our garden, when we get disheartened, most people give up and it would be a shame if you did that, your keen and ready to learn, so make it fun, experiment with different types of container plants and don't just plop it into un-prepared soil and hope for the best, you have to learn that it can be fun AND a real heartache, you just learn from the mistakes we make when starting out.
Hope you can start anew and next years gardening will become the joy it is for hundreds of us gardeners.
Best of luck and Kindest Regards.
Thanks for taking so much of your time to help me out, I appreciate it.
I did actually pick up a few packets of pansies for next year. I liked the colors of those better than what I can find in stores.
I have finally got a chance to look around town this weekend better (husband driving). It does seem every where else puts a lot more plants to a spot than I do. I was thinking more along the lines of perennials and giving them enough space. Guess I can pack them in a little better.
I also have this front garden, 1 half has a large tree over it, the other part doesn't, so what grows in one area won't grow in the other, UGH!!! But it's the type that needs the same plant on each side.
There are as many plants that will grow under the shade of a large tree as there are ones that need lots of sunlight but for a beginner, it will be difficult for you to manage growing the same plants in both sides where one side is cooler / shadier and other side is hot sunshine ( I'm talking about soil temp) also keep in mind, any tree's remove a terrific amount of moisture from soil, especially in hot summer days, this has a greater affect on any plants that grow close to tree roots, I'm not talking about growing right up against any tree, BUT think how far out from the trunk a tree spreads it's roots looking for moisture, this will give an idea of the difference in soil conditions, the dryness of the tree side and the hotter temp in the side where there is NO tree.
On the sunny side you can add a huge amount of humus to the growing beds / borders, this allows the soil mixed with the humus to retain a great deal of moisture helping all your perennials and shrubs to grow and flower there heads off, where as, the drier side, because the roots are well established, you will never be able to add enough humus to help perennials grow and lack of good light wont help them establish BUT, other plants can adapt, look for books that have plants that grow in drier shade, they are NOT all dull green and no flowers BUT they are plants that wont grow on the sunny side. just go looking at gardens, plants in the garden centre for shade, ask questions, like soil type, how tall, any flowers, that's how you learn, AND carry a Camera to take pictures and paper / pen to write the names of the plants you like.
Silly as it may appear, there is absolutely no need to have a garden with mirror image on both sides, it makes it more interesting by growing plant /shrubs etc that need the different conditions, go get a book or book's and the pictures will tell you how possible it all is once you understand how to go about it..
Hellibores are wonderful plants and there are a huge variety of flowers, colours and don't ignore the lovely foliage colours and texture too, IF you like those plants, never plant a single one, they look sparse but plant groups of 3-5-7 etc, this will in about too years look like the plants a foot apart have started to naturalise instead of sitting like a soldier, on duty.
Do this when planting ALL perennials by the way, check label for planting distances apart.
Other plants for that area are :
Digitalis (fox gloves) there are different colours and will self seed so either keep all the seedlings or remove ones in the wrong place.
Hostas, mainly grown for their beautiful foliage BUT they also have nice lilac to pale pink flowers, the edges of the leaves come in small, medium, large, with some outstanding variegation on the leaves, you would need to make sure they got plenty water as the really do like dampish soil but that can be achieved by making a sink garden area lined with thick plastic and filled with soil. the plastic will allow more moisture to remain around the roots, you need to make a couple of holes though as the water will turn sour IF it cant slowly run away.
Clematis, you might be able to grow a few Clematis up, over the tree IF you can get enough humus into the soil they like very cool shaded roots BUT the top growth likes sunlight, all different colours and heights.
Climbing Roses the same as the Clematis, again all heights and spreads, any colour you want.
Bergenia, nice leaves and pink flowers and they spread themselves out.
Lily, some lilies like drier soil and less sunlight, BUT do a search for the right one.
Aquilegia, nice foliage, lovely small flowers we call old the "Old Grannies Bonnets"
Astilbe, Lovely lacey foliage and pink, cream, red, flowers, treat like the Hosta's.
Cyclamen, Winter Spring flowering, DONT bury the Corms too deep.
Primula's lot's of different types and colours
There are hundreds more just for the search required. .
Hope this gives you some ideas to let you know shade gardening is definitely NOT drab or boring, you just have to amend the soil as you have to amend for the sunny side.
Do a soil test, Buy cheep kit at garden centre, easy to use and instant results, always check IF a plant requires Acidic soil you have that type of soil, Rhododendron, Azalea's, and many other shrubs NEED / LOVE acid soil with added peat etc.