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Annuals in the Cottage Garden

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

I would like to talk about Annuals mixed into the cottage garden.

What kind, and why?

How do you plant them, single plants, scatter seeds, start your own seeds and then plant here and there.

And of course pictures for your Annual - Perennial combos if you have them.

Thanks,
Chris

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

Chris, the answer is -- yes.

I can't post pics as, having bought the house in late spring I barely have anything to talk about. I think deciding on color and height is about the most important decision. Then, it would depend on what you already have. You mainly want to fill in spaces -- a sprig of zinnias here, some marigolds there. I'm putting in a swath of daffodils, and think I will scatter zinnia seeds over them -- keep the color going, that sort of thing. It's not the best advice, but I'm still in R and D, myself. Start with what you like, and adjust it to what you have.

This year, before the fenceline shrubbery will get big enough to do what it's supposed to, I will probably plant peas or pole beans behind the shrubs. It will fill the space, add color, and feed me.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Great thread, Chris, and I'm doing my cottage garden with annuals, one bed soley annuals, but won't start until next year, so I have absolutely nothing to share. I have a daffodil bed and dig into it every year and can't have any perennials in it (I also don't want those big root systems). I could probably have bienniels.

Some annulas do best when you throw the seed out -- they are marked in the Thomp[son-Morhan catalog as "Hardy Annual". Larkspur, poppies, alyssum....there are a bunch of them. You could wintersow them, ut on DG it's easy to end up with 1/4 cup of seed by doing trades and if you have that much seed, youcan direct sow.

Here are a couple of things I think I know: Orange Cosmos --aka Bright Lights -- is absolutely the earliest plant you can grow from seed to bloom. It would be easy to use this after the poppies, I think.

Zinnias don't get mildew under some circumstances: If they are sown late -- say June 15 here in Z 5, or if they are deadheaded (or used as cut flowers) and the soil kept moist in the dog days of summer. At my house, overhead watering is a myth, and so is close planting. I threw out seed and some of the zinnias were 2" apart.

When annuals are grown with perennials and you let them reseed, you have to look critically at the seedlings the following year and pull out the ones that are in the wrong place. Using them for cut flowers is the easiest way to do this since often times you don't know they are in the wrong place until they bloom!

Plant perennials with plenty of room between them, but plant annuals really close together. I know this, but I am not sure HOW close I can get. If the package says 9-12 inches, do I use 8-9 inches? Or 6"? I ran into a flower yesterday in my seed stash -- Celosia cockscome (Celosia cristata) to use as a cut flower and they say 2-3" apart! Yay looks like I can use a lot of seed for a small patch.

Visually, I like annuals to be in a drift the same size, or a little larger, than the size of the perennials nearby.

One combination I had last year that was to die for was giant hybrid Trumpet Lilies in whites/creams fronted by tall orange cosmos... it was gorgeous and so fragrant it made the jasmine seem just so-so.

Another combination was oriental lilies and Orienpets with the Oriental colors or maroon and white with a tall dahlia that was purple & white. There are about 4 dahlias that would work as they all have the same color, but the one I have sent a picture of is called Mystery Day. One of the lilies closest was 'Silk Road', but the others also picked up on the color.

The third combination isn't so great, but I have a place with dry shade going down in a slope away from my patio. I need tall plants so I can see the flowers over the bushes that outline the patio. Feverfew, especially the bright green (they call it yellow) foliaged one or the double flowered one with Cleome and Adenophora comfusa (lady bells-- looks like a campanula) with those same lilies with the Oriental colors was beautiful...and if not the MOST beautiful, then it bloomed in the shade without irrigation and that's good enough! I also slipped in some dark red impatiens so when I walk around to the other side, I could see more color. The impatiens reseed, same with the cleome. The Adenophora is supposed to be invasive, but it isn't for me.

I hope other people jump in here because I know I didn't really answer your questions....right now I have some roses, some clematis, and some boring daylilies (especially compared to Lincolnitesses and Geminii's) new last year. I have systematically been getting rid of my perennials that are 7 -20 years old to start over.

Suzy






Thumbnail by Illoquin
Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Suzy, you know more than you think; you listed all the annuals that came to my mind and all your suggestions sound great!

I love all the self seeding annuals, even the ones that can be thugs sometimes. Forget me nots (Myosotis) are a really pretty blue that can be allowed to grow almost anywhere they show up. Last year was my first experience with them and I loved them. Hope lots of babies show up in spring! I can't find a single pic that shows them, but the shade of blue is amazing.

Thornton, IL

Lady - I've been using annuals to try out color combinations in my perennial borders.

I am finding that some act almost like perennials, ie come back the next year, if they're close enough to the south side of the house. Like black & blue salvia, and dusty milller.

I also found that Torch Flame annual blanket flower was a better bloomer and a stronger plant for me than Fanfare perennial blanket flower. They have similar colors, dark yellow with red centers. I'll probably buy more next year, to replace the Fanfare that rotted out. They're in my front yard, and I want something that goes all summer into fall.

This is the best reason I can think of to use annuals. Long bloom time, and lots of them! :0)

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

I have been having good luck with the white alyssum that I planted a few years ago, using it as a boarder, it has been reseeding on it's own and I like the sweet smell it gives off when it is in mass. In fact I think it may still be in bloom, I'll have to post a picture if it is.

I was thinking about blue Bachelor Buttons, and Love-in-the-Mist.

I really need to get organized next spring. I fell like the garden is getting out of control.

Keep the ideas coming.

Chris

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

I like alyssum too. I mixed it with verbena along the edges of my bed last year. The Babylon series of verbena do the best for me. This is Babylon Blue. It spread about 2 ft.

Thumbnail by lincolnitess
Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

I picked up a Clarkia at the farmers market this spring and really liked it. Hope it reseeds for me. It looks sad here all by itself, but I think a clump of them would be very pretty.

Thumbnail by lincolnitess
Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

I like lantana too. The white in this photo is dew. I get home from work about 7:30 in the morning, so take a lot of early morning photos. The blue plant is an annual salvia called Sapphire.

Thumbnail by lincolnitess
Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Annual vinca is a favorite too because it never needs to be deadheaded.

Thumbnail by lincolnitess
Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Sonata cosmos start to bloom early and stay short and compact.

Thumbnail by lincolnitess
Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Wow, another thread with lots of lovely photos and great suggestions!

How "short & compact" is that cosmos? The regular kind of cosmos is "supposed" to get 24-30 inches tall, I think, but it gets over 5 feet tall in my yard. I'd love to find a shorter one! Is 'Sonata' a hybrid, or will it reseed?

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Susan,

These pics are better than a seed catalog! This year I had the kind of Cosmos that gets over 5'0 tall and doesn't bloom. :(

Do you buy Lantana every year? Or take cuttings? Or does it come back? (Would love to hear it comes back on its own!)

The Clarkia is wonderful, too....I thought it only like cool seasons, so I always stayed away from it. What happened to yours in the hot-hot summer, presuming Lincoln gets hot-hot in the summer?

Suzy

Thornton, IL

lincolnitess - love that blue & orange combo! The other orange flower is zinnia, right? Annual or perennial? thanks.

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Love those Sonata cosmos! I had clarkia show up in a wildflower seed mix this year and it did better than most of the others in the mix. It was in a dry area and I'd like to try it again.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

lady, I'm thinking "out of control" is the point!

Gorgeous pics, lincoln!

Illoquin, admittedly a different zone, but lantana won't quit down here. Butchering them seems to make them happy! I have stuck a sprig in dirt and gotten whole new shrubs. As long as there is a little bit left of it, you'll have a new one come summer.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

A friend of mine in CA was getting "into" Clarkia a couple of years ago, and I think he said he thought "dry" was the key to being able to grow them.... we decided they probably wouldn't fare well in MD's humidity.

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

The Sonata cosmos get about 2" tall. I don't see anyplace that they are listed as a hybrid. I did same some seeds this year from the hot pink one and am going to try growing them again next year. One year I grew the white ones in my back raised bed and really enjoyed them too. I don't grow too many because they do need deadheading to keep blooming and that can time consuming. Here is a photo of the different colors they come in.

http://www.parkseed.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StoreCatalogDisplay?storeId=10101&catalogId=10101&langId=-1&mainPage=prod2working&ItemId=0613

The Clarkia bloomed for at least a month before it dried up. I'm not sure if it dried up due to the head or the fact that I let it go to seed. I'm hoping it reseeds around the tall lilies I have in that bed. Annies Annuals in California has lots of different types of Clarkia. I never tried it before, but talked to a lady at the farmers market that grow a lot of it and says it does fine for her.

Lantana is an annual here. I did try to take some cutting this fall, but they all died. i like them because of their late bloom and use them to weave in and out of the daylilies after they have stopped blooming. Has anyone grown them from seed?

The orange plant with the blue salvia is Flammendes Katchen Helenium. I moved it this fall, so hope I did not kill it.

susan

Thornton, IL

Oh thanks, I love it! I hope it makes it for you too.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Durn it! I was so hoping lantana was hardy there (cuz then it would be hardy here.)

You know that Babylon verbena picture? I have some stuff that looks like it, is your hardy? I covered mine with a boatload of leaves to try to over winter it. I doubt ine is Babylon -- would be a long shot.

The only thing I can keep over winter are bulbs, corms & tubers.

Suzy

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

The Babylon verbena is not hardy here. I tried to take some cutting of it this fall too, but they all dried up. There is one type of verbena that is hardy here, I think it is called Canadian verbena, but I don't like it very well. Usually end up buying 5 or so of the potted verbena each spring. Sure wish I did better with taking cuttings. The verbena only come in indivual pots. Would be nice if they could be bought as small plants in 6 packs.

This message was edited Nov 22, 2006 6:25 PM

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

I like lantana. I buy one every year, I'm going to try rooting cutting so I can have it growing more places. Another I buy each year is helitrope, the purple annual one that smells so good, but this spring I want to start seeds in the basement, so I can also have it more places.

I want to get some coleus, too. Start some from seed and then take cutting of the ones I like, they are so easy to root. And instant color! I also like one or two in my combo container planter.

Chris

Thornton, IL

I've saved some cuttings from both, hope they make it for me. The front porch is sunny, but unheated.

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

Was outside today, boy is it beautiful out, just sweatshirt weather. Here is a picture of my sweet alyssum. still blooming after Thanksgiving.

Thumbnail by ladygardener1
Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Lady, It was great here, too. I got an enormous amount of season finishing done, and for the frst time in a long time, I am finishing with leaves and planting on Thanksgiving weekend! Of course all that means is I have time to run to the garden center to buy more bulbs at 50% off, but I suppose that's not all bad. LOL!

I hope everybody saw the www.seedman.com sale. He has fertilizers, coir and all kinds of things besides seeds.

Also, there is a 60% off rose and clematis sale. Somebody in the CG forum advised me to get Clematis for my CG, so I bought 4 of them. The shipping is outrageous if you only buy 1-2 things, but as you add, it seems to get cheaper (not really, but the cost to ship, per plant, is drastically reduced.) www.merrygro.com. Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do with them over winter and people on the rose forum all seem to have different ideas: plant them, put them in the garage & put them inside the house are the 3 main ideas right now.

Suzy





Thornton, IL

Well the other is send them here, along with the other goodies, Mwha hahaha!

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Thought I would try to resurrect this wonderful thread... Thanks for all of the wonderful photos and great information.

Also wanted to add a link to a book which may be of interest to those thinking of CG Annuals - Clive Lane's Cottage Garden Annuals: Grown from Seed for Summer-Long Colour. I just happened upon it while visiting the British CG Society's web page and ordered it for a steal on Amazon. Haven't actually read it yet though.

er, that link: http://www.amazon.com/Cottage-Garden-Annuals-Summer-Long-Colour/dp/0715304291

This message was edited Dec 22, 2008 10:06 AM

Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

Here's one example of an annual. This is blue Bacopa that I just threw in the border this year. What a surprise! It flowered well into mid Autumn. It looked great just rambling amongst the other flower stems.

The next photo is the white Bacopa in a traditional hanging setting.

Thumbnail by PrimroseSue
Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

White Bacopa, Red pointy Geranium, Sweet Potato 'Blackie'.

Thumbnail by PrimroseSue
Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

This is my daughter's garden (that I maintained). There are Bachelor's Buttons, Marigolds, Poppies, and a few other jumbled items.

Thumbnail by PrimroseSue
Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

Larkspur on the left, red Flanders poppies on the right. (edit: yellow/orange in the middle is African daisy.)

This message was edited Dec 22, 2008 10:27 AM

Thumbnail by PrimroseSue
Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

Candytuft with mini roses.

Thumbnail by PrimroseSue
Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

Here's Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) and Bachelor Buttons. Nicotiana is one of my all-time faves - it is one of the night-scented ones - heavenly!

Thumbnail by PrimroseSue
Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

Chris, thanks for asking about annuals - I enjoyed taking a stroll through my garden via photos!

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Oh, what a precious garden for your daughter, Primrose! I love it & methinks it shall grow a wonderful gardener. ;)

Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

I definitely have lots of annuals. Sweet allysum can be a perennial here, they are still blooming in areas of my yard. I let the poppies, cosmos, zinnia, and larkspur reseed and just pull the ones I don't want in the spring. That way I don't have to worry about saving seeds and planting. The more done by Mother Nature the better my yard looks I think! Annuals fill in around the perenials and give the garden a lush look with different pops of color at different seasons and times.

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

I did a bit of experimenting with Ornamental sweet potato vines as a ground cover in the garden. I think they turned out pretty well. However some one made a comment on another thread that hers self rooted along the vine and was growing all over the place. I'm thinking a bit of a controlled trimming would help out that situation.
Sorry I don't have a better picture to show the over all effect. But I think they add to the lushness of the garden.

Thumbnail by ladygardener1
Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

I think they would look lovely as a ground cover. I dug up this photo from a few years ago of a neglected pot. It was so interesting how it just rambled around.

Thumbnail by PrimroseSue
Southlake, TX(Zone 8a)

do you all overwinter your SPV? I have both the blackie and margarite in pots in the house trying to overwinter. Even the smallest plant will grow tremendously if given the chance.

Near Lake Erie, NW, PA(Zone 5a)

Quoting:
do you all overwinter your SPV?

Yes! Do both ways, over winter the plants that I have in pots in the summer & dig up and save the tubers from the large pots I can't bring into the house.
I am trying to overwinter a Tri-colored that I bought last year, out of 5 cutting I still have 3 growing, keeping fingers crossed. Some one said that the tri-colored tubers do not come true the next season, I think I saved some of thoses too, so will see for myself.
The 2 I have pictured above are from plants I bought in 2007.

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