Annuals are probably most widely used for filling gaps in borders, on the rock garden and elsewhere, for they provide splashes of welcome color in a matter of months. A bed or border. devoted entirely to hardy annuals can make a splendid carpet of color during the summer months, but it does entail considerable work in weeding and watering in the early stages.
For a small garden or one of moderate size, a mixed border of hardy herbaceous perennials and annuals will provide interest and color from May to October without undue toil. With both types of plants it is possible, by making a careful choice, to include only such plants as require no staking and it is wise, in exposed gardens, to use low growing plants that will not be battered by summer winds. New Gardens One of the quickest ways of making a display in a new garden is by sowing hardy annuals, for seed sown in April and May where it is to flower will give a display from June onwards.
The choice of annuals is very wide and the color range all embracing, giving ample scope for those with bright ideas and those who like to try something different each year.
Containers For those whose gardening may be confined to window boxes, tubs or other containers on a roof garden or in a patio, half-hardy annuals are probably the best bet. These can be planted out as young plants in May and will soon start to flower. This is much more satisfactory, although it costs more than sowing seed of hardy annuals in window boxes which are usually too exposed for young seedlings to make good plants, even though the seed may germinate reasonably well in the first place. Suitable half-hardy annuals for growing in containers are antirrhinum, petunia, fragrant stocks, annual chrysanthemum, (heliotrope), lobelia, Phlox drummondii, African and French marigolds and other showy plants.
Hanging baskets are also most decorative when filled with heliotrope, trailing lobelia, free flowering nasturtium, petunia and other summer flowering plants. Their flowers and foliage will hang over the sides most attractively.
Edging and Paving Other uses of annuals
Cut Flowers Annuals provide a splendid selection of flowers for cutting and with a little planning flowers can be available over a long period. By sowing hardy annuals in the open in the fall and making another sowing in the open in the spring a succession of welcome flowers will be assured. A list of annuals for cutting:. Hardy Annuals for Cut Flowers Calendula (pot marigold), Centaurea (cornflower), Delphinium ajacis (larkspur), Gypsophila, Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea), Nigella (love-in-a-mist), Saponaria, Scabiosa.
Biennials are also most useful and effective in a border, particularly when planted in bold clumps. In milder areas wallflowers are probably among the most popular and there is a splendid range of color. The fragrance on a warm day in May is glorious. For small gardens the ‘Tom Thumb’ varieties, about 9
Another method is to sow the seed in frost proof frames in late summer and plant them outside in spring.
Groups of sweet Williams in well-drained soil and a sunny position are delightful in early summer, and they are also useful for cutting. Other popular biennials include Canterbury bell, the blue cynoglossum with forget-me-not-like flowers borne on incurling sprays, polyanthus and in many rich colors in milder areas, honesty with its large flat seed pods which make decorative material when dried, Iceland poppy (Papaver nudicaule) in areas where summers are cooler and not too humid, and many different violas and pansies.
How to use Annual and Biennial flowers