Thursday, May 23, 2024

Annual Flower Fatigue

 I have Annual Flower Fatigue.  I am not sure if you should read that ANNUAL FLOWER fatigue or annual FLOWER FATIGUE.  I am tired of choosing, buying and planting annual flowers.  Annually.  

It is enough work to plant all new vegetables each year, and that work starts in March.  Perennials are a more relaxed schedule, but there is always something that dies over winter and has to be replaced, or is complaining about the spot you've put it in and wants to move, or is being eaten by critters and needs protection.  The last thing I want to deal with this time of year is a couple hundred dollars of hot house bedding plants that have to be color coordinated and comfortably situated and fed every week.  And the amount of soil that has to be amended and moved! Containers to clean and bring out of storage.  Pots to dispose of.

This is the third year that I have started my own Coleus and Celosia seeds indoors.  This is a long term commitment, but it is cost effective and I can be assured that I will get exactly the varieties that I want.  Coleus is surprisingly easy to grow, but Celosia is a bit finicky.  It does not transplant well because the root systems are small and slow to develop.  Still, I persevere.

Because this is what it will look like in the summer.  It is a spectacular sight and garners many compliments.  And... the deer don't bother it.

But I have noticed, that Celosia self seeds very reliably.  Look at the edge of the firepit in the photo below.  Do you see all of those little volunteers?  Next year I am going to try direct sowing this and placing a polycarbonate panel or frost cover over it.  Now THAT would be easy.

Another thing I have done to streamline the container planting is switching to perennials.

Last year I converted these two, part shade whiskey barrels from annuals to perennial Heuchera.  They are doing wonderfully.  They require a little winter care but the deer don't bother them too much and it saves about a hundred dollars a year that I would be spending on annuals.

This planter lost one plant so the color is a little out of balance

I am really loving the ease of coordinating foliage plants and the color palette of red, black and chartreuse.  So I have again duplicated it in the Coleus planters.  Both the Heuchera and the Coleus can take both shade and sun so they are perfectly suited to the variable shade in this area.  And I do not have to choose between many shades of pinks or reds or yellows...  Or worry about how it will look along side my perennials plantings.

Below is my one annual plant splurge of the year.  These are mail order Proven Winners annuals from Romence Gardens.

The planter should look like the photo below when it is filled in.  The center grass is different, but it was the closest option available.

While we are out here near the firepit, take a look at this lovely Lemony Lace Elderberry bush.  Sometimes lime green plants can look sickly or washed out, but this shrub is doing a lovely job of adding a pop of foliage color and unique texture to the river bed.

One planter I was almost going to skip altogether this year is the one in front of the garden shed.  I am not planting any other annuals around the house or driveway but, I can see this one from the bedroom window so it is something I will look at many times each day.

I just used up extra Coleus plants and added a Marguerite lime sweet potato vine.

Now I said I wasn't planting anything around the house and driveway.  That's not entirely true.  I usually plant dozens of Salmon geraniums in the landscape and place planters on either side of the entrance, and those items cost a lot in time, money and deer repellent.  But there is one whiskey barrel in a prominent location, and leaving it sitting there empty just didn't seem right.

I made my one single effort at choosing a flower that coordinates perfectly with my perennial plantings.  I went with a Calibrachoa which does not require a lot of water, and I chose a color that will match the Day Lilies perfectly.  I am actually looking forward wo seeing this one fill in.

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