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Archive for July 20th, 2009

I dropped by Mr. McGregor’s Daughter’s blog this morning and discovered that she has initiated a new meme.   I like this idea too.   She posted about the best and the worst of this year’s annuals, and challenged other garden bloggers to follow suit. It’s an interesting subject to address, and I welcome the opportunity to participate in this meme.

I planted annuals this year that came from seeds I saved from last year.  I also planted seeds that were saved by friends of mine, plus I planted some I bought.   The annuals I try to have on a regular basis are zinnias, marigolds, cornflowers, sun flowers, cosmos, and torch tithonia.  The new ones I am trying out are a very tall yellow cosmos and a couple of annual salvias — one red and one blue.

The overall report that I have come up with is that the annuals I planted this year are doing really well and really terribly, depending on where they were planted.

For example, the zinnias have outdone themselves, and the marigolds are right behind.   They don’t seem to care where they were put.   The sunflowers are always planted courtesy of the blue jays, and I basically nurture them wherever I happen to find them.  I am trying out the salvias over behind the Jesse and Jim Bench, torch tithonia I care for in small quantities wherever I find it convenient.  It can get eight feet tall, so a little goes a long way.

My cornflowers self-seeded regularly in the rock pile until it got moved and mowed.   I started some new ones and they are doing nicely.   Some are in the Petite Priarie, and some are in with my green beans.   Technically, green beans are annuals as well, and so I am including them.  They are doing quite well.   In the bed behind the bean tower are the seedling black beans I just sowed a couple of weeks ago.

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There are a couple of spots in the yard where I have the patches of mixed annuals I call my butterfly mix.  It consists of zinnias, marigolds, cosmos and cleomes.

The first place is the garden I established around the sauna and dressing room complex.   While I do have some perennials in there, what I really want is that vibrant mix of annuals that blooms all July and August (if I give them a little encouragement, i.e. water) and attracts the bees, wasps, and butterflies like magnets.

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Notice the big sunflower in the lower right.   Yep, the blue jays did it.   Around it are big tall stalks with pink heads, which are cleomes, a favorite of our hummingbirds.   I try to seed this annual all over the place and encourage a few where I want them.   This year they did really well out here by the sauna.   Usually I can count on quite a good turnout in the front garden too, but this year something ate the bark off the young plants and all but one of them died.

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The cleomes disappeared out on the root cellar and in the Stroll garden area where I strewed them at the same time I was planting all those others.

In the sauna garden, notice the beautiful zinnias.   This is a different view of the same place.   Notice that there are also the tall yellow cosmos in this shot.    See any of the pink cosmos with their lacy foliage?   Look very closely, in the center of the back are two of the about 25 there were out there.   So far they have not been skinned yet.

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Now I move to the Stroll Garden, where I have what I am calling Zinnia Hill for lack of a better name.    I have already established some rhubarb plants there, so I’m fairly sure this will not remain an annual bed for long.   Eventually I intend to plant hardy agastache, geraniums, and salvias on this little rise.   For now, the butterfly mix fills in the hole.

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From the other side, it looks like this.   Once again, notice the dearth of the pink cosmos while the tall yellow ones are doing great.   In this garden I have achieved nasturtiums for the first time since I have lived in this house.    The annual salvias are in the background of this shot.

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Yes, that is another pet sunflower in the foreground.  This one has had its head completely consumed by squirrels.   They did it yesterday, before the finches discovered it.   (I’m pretty sure the finches will get the one out by the sauna.)  There is also one of the orange flowers of the torch tithonia on the right.   I am very pleased that it has decided it likes conditions in this area.   The Monarch Butterflies use it as a nectar and pollen source later on in the year, but I usually have to tolerate one or two out in the vegetable garden because that is where it seems to like life best.  It is just now getting wound up.

Now, back to the front yard where another one of the self seeders is getting ready to put on its annal display.   The celosia are coming along nicely.  I put some marigolds in there too.

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The thing is, just down the path from there, the celosia I fostered didn’t do so well.

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Yeah, those shriveled up little dead things are the celosia.   There was cleome in there too.   Go figure.   This may be an area where a little too much driveway thaw may have wound up during last winter.

Another spot in the Stroll Garden that is “sort of” annuals is the spot where I have my non-hardy bulbs and plants, like dahlias and gladiolas and callas and cannas.   I don’t have any cannas yet, that is awaiting an infusion of cash.  Tje things I have in this bed so far are doing only moderately well.  The soil needs to be worked and amended, but this will do for this year.  I have to dig them up in the fall anyway, I’ll work on the soil then.

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Some people might even think I should tie up those poor gladiolas.   I would, except that they are almost finished anyway, so why go to the trouble?  I hope this does not make me a bad gladiolus mother.   They were fine until the thunderstorm with the microburst a couple of days ago.

Right behind them on the right you can see the butternut squash vines.   I planted THREE hills of squash back there.   Honest.  In the next picture you can see how well they are doing.   You can even make out the new blueberry bush that is making roots while the squash tries to edge it out.   I’ve got news for the squash.  It is just an annual plant and I won’t have any trouble getting it out of there when it is done making its crop.   This is just a small portion of Squash Hill.   There are over two dozen squashes forming in there:  here are three.

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So that’s how the annuals are doing over at The Havens.   You win some, you lose some.

It’s all good.  Now go visit Mr. McGregor’s Daughter. After all, she started this meme.

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