advice for planting annuals in July!

Homer City, PA


I would appreciate if anyone may have advice about a problem I have. I am not sure how but as a member of my business association, I was voted to replant the town raised sign bed before our big festival on July 8th (two-weeks away!). It is a three foot raised bed, maybe ten feet by four feet? Right now there are some arbor vitae on each side of the sign and the rest of the bed is full of dead cornflower or perrenial bachelor buttons. We would like to put a little color in the bed for the festival. I am currently calling all nurseries and greenhouses in the area looking for annuals that are still alive. Does anyone have advice about what kind would work (Zone 5, full sun, probably poor soil, hopefully long-blooming.)
I was thinking about removing those as the fall approaches and putting in some fall mums. Can the kind you find in pots at every other store be put straight in the ground?
The following spring I will be replacing everything with perennials (again with similar requirements).
If anyone has any advise as to the feasibility of this plan or any alternate plan, I would appreciate it. I have a yearly budget of $150.00. Please let me know soon at least about those annuals.
Thanks so much!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Hi Backdoc, I think you have prob missed the boat with your annials for this year as july is only a few weeks away, if your garden centers have these left this late, I would deffinately want to give them a good exanination, most annuals have already flowered their socks of at this time of year, yes they will be still flowering a bit in peoples gardens, but not their first strongest flush of blooms, plus they wont have had transplanting probs as you want to do, and the roots will be well established, could it be poss to try get some bedding fuchsias, begonias, eyc, that will stand transplanting a bit better at the highest temp time of year, at least these will have bulked out by now and you wont need so many to fill your space, if you do that, then you can always go cap in hand and ask for a discount as it is so late in the season for all bedding plants. your next question was about mums, I would watch the mums, the ones you find in the pots are sometimes for indoor growing, but I could be wrong, you should take a picture of the bed you wish to plant up along to the nursery/carden centers, and ask for further advice, as for perennials, sounds great, but befor you plant these, you need to inmrove the soil by adding lots of compost or manure as they are quite hungry plants to last a whole season, before you plant these, I would try get some spring bulbs like Daffs, tulips, croccus or things like that, these will give you a good show of colour way before the perennials come through the soil in late spring/early summer, good luck, hope the festival goes well and you all enjoy. WeeNel.

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

Marigold, even this late they will do well.

Thumbnail by DaleTheGardener
Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

Zinnia are another common easy summer plant.

Thumbnail by DaleTheGardener
Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

Angelonia are common here, not sure about your area, good for the heat of summer.

Thumbnail by DaleTheGardener
Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

If your budget is $150 for the year you are in trouble. Instant flower beds are expensive. You have to buy big plants to make an impression. 1gallon plants aren't cheap and you will need 40 plants for a 10' x 4' bed. At $4 each that is $160.

Mums in the fall are nice, but, they don't last long unless you buy them while still in the bud stage. If they look like my photo below they are past the point of planting out.

Thumbnail by DaleTheGardener
Mays Landing, NJ(Zone 7a)

Here's a suggestion that is quick and cheap. Rather than spend your budget on potbound, tired annuals, make fun, funky paper flowers (sunflowers would be easy) mounted on stakes at various heights, add some flags and instead garden! Local scout troups might earn civic badge credits for helping. Then you can plan a nice garden for next year.

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