A recent article by Linda Wesley in Fine Gardening magazine has inspired me to think more about using annuals to supplement the spring color in my flower beds. Yes, I have spring bulbs and early-blooming perennials, but there’s still an awful lot of bare brown spots in April and even in May where later-blooming perennials have yet to make their presence felt. Eventually I hope most of those areas will be covered by bulbs like Muscari, Crocus, Scylla, and species tulips – but in the meantime I feel the call of the annuals.
I had initially been considering pansies, stock, and forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica). (Though I haven’t been able to find a retailer who sells forget-me-not seed.)
But the article got me thinking about other alternatives I have never grown before, including:
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis).
- Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena).
- California poppies (Eschscholzia californica). (Frost tolerant, according to the article. Who knew?)
- Shirley poppies (Papaver rhoeas).
A couple of the annuals mentioned by Fine Gardening are not on my list of options. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus), because Judy doesn’t like snapdragons. Also sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), which I have never grown, because they grow so tall. I want annuals that will graciously fade into the background to make room for the perennials and summer annuals.
So, which cool weather annuals have been most successful for you, and which are your favorites?