Annuals in your Backyard and Garden: How to Use Them
Annuals are great accents, perfect for tucking away in spots around shrubs, arranged in beds, or at edging of lawns. Tall annuals are great for temporarily blocking out unsightly views. You can even create low hedging effects with the compact sorts. Annuals are also perfect for natural settings more elaborate schemes, and informal mixed borders.
Beds of any size can be sown right outdoors, with repeated sowing later on, to keep blooms going. You can incorporate perennials into this bed also. When the perennials are done, you can fill those spaces left open can be filled with annuals. Annuals, with careful thought to planting, can be ready to transplant before mid-summer, allowing you to keep a blooming garden, even after the early summer bloom.
Annuals that are perfect for this purpose include salvia, marigolds, cosmos, and medium sunflowers. Medium height annuals include zinnias, snapdragons, China aster, Drummond phlox and petunia. Annuals are invaluable to a garden setting. You can plant many seeds and bulbs, and the surplus can be pulled or thinned to allow for greater development.
To create early flowering for your setting, sow annual seeds in a Greenhouse, hot bed, cold frames, or even in the home. Early sowing is even more important is areas where the growing season is very short. Planting indoors should be done based upon the timeframe you want to move the plants outdoors.
The date is approximate, usually some 8-10 weeks ahead of the normal planting season. Plants that are slow to develop like, snapdragon, verbena, and petunia, among others should be started in January to March, depending on the region. Seeds can be planted in small pots or seed pans in a mixture of sand, soil, and peat moss. This needs to be kept at a warm temperature. When the seedlings sprout leaves, they should be picked off, and planted in shallow boxes of a similar mixture.
At this point, they should be given as much light as possible, to promote further growth. Seeds of Hunnemannia fumariae folia, should be sown in small pots when started indoors. They do not transplant readily since they are of the poppy family. If an outdoor coldframe is used, seeds do not need to be started until much later. If the area where the seeds are planted in restricted, seeds do not need to be planted nearly as early.
Plants need to be kept growing. If they are held for any length of time in a flats or pots, the roots can become stunted and hard. This creates a tendency to prematurely flower, harming the flowering period in the garden. This can be relieved slightly by feeding it with liquid manure. Garden annuals are great at adapting too many types of soils.
Annuals are easy to grow, and come to a full bloom in a relatively short time period when grown from seeds. Many plants can be raised directly from seeds, making them inexpensive as well. They do not require elaborate soil preparation; in fact some will thrive with little to know care. The soil does not need to be kept very rich, but it will need to be in good physical conditions with some organic matter and fertilizer.
Annuals need to be kept watered, especially in periods of hot weather. It is also a good idea to feel them with liquid manure or fertilizer during or right before the blooming period. Annuals will complete their entire life cycle in one growing season. They can be sown right into the ground, and will flower in a rather short period of time.