ANNUALS GET A GREEN THUMBS UP FOR ADDING COLOR TO YOUR SUMMER GARDEN
The June solstice, on the 20th of the month this year, officially marks the beginning of summer. But for North Texans those “lazy, hazy, crazy days” of summer barbecues and picnics, outdoor concerts, and a host of other fun in the sun activities begin with Memorial Day. The day also signals the beginning of the summer gardening season, which means it’s time to start planning that brilliant backdrop for your next family barbecue, wedding, graduation party or backyard potluck with neighbors.
Annuals are easy to plant, grow fast, and fill in quickly, allowing you to make over your entire garden fast. With just some simple steps, you can use them to create a brilliant display. A few well-chosen spots filled in with groups of annuals not only fill in empty spaces but can create a dramatic accent in a specific area or even change the whole look and feel of your backyard. Filling in empty spaces with mass plantings also reduces weed growth, which means you spend less time on maintenance.
How to Create an Impact
Start with a color scheme. Want a cool theme? The Gardening Channel recommends blue, pink or lavender flowers. Accent a hot tropical motif with shades of yellow, orange, and red. Use white flowers to accent both warm and cool color schemes.
Use annuals to create or enhance a border. Create a single large mass of color. Or mix multiple colors and types to create a more wild effect. Enhance their dramatic impact by creating contrast. Choose flowers and foliage that stand out against your larger, permanent shrubs or coordinate flower colors with the walls of your home.
“Thrill, Fill & Spill”
Got containers? Place them around your pool or patio and fill them with your favorite annuals to create major accents. Get the most impact by adhering to the design principle “thrill (height), fill and spill.” Create height with an eye-catching plant that is taller than the other plants to serve as the focal point. Fill in the rest of the containers with plants – and use lots of color – that are shorter than your focal point. Finally choose more annuals or even some vining plants to spill over the container edges to complete your design. Feel free to mix and match annuals with perennials or evergreens. This gives you the option of leaving the longer-living plants in place from season to season and just changing out the annuals.
Whenever putting in new plants, whether annuals, perennials, trees, or shrubs, always use Marshall Grain’s Organic Planting Recipe for Containers and Flowerbeds (see below) to minimize transplant shock and help establish healthy roots.
Great Summer Annuals for DFW
Here are a few summer annuals Marshall Grain recommends for the DFW area:
Bronze-Leaf Begonias: Big Rose with Bronze Leaf begonias bear big pink flowers and have purple-bronze leaves. They do well in full or partial shade.
Gazanias: Hailing from South Africa, Gazanias, which range in color from terra cotta to bright yellow, grow well in dry climates and do well in most types of soil.
Moss Rose: A hardy plant, the Moss Rose requires little water to thrive. Enjoy a range of bright colors – rose, yellow, white, orange, red, purple and pink.
Pentas: Love butterflies and hummingbirds? If so, you’ll want to plant Pentas since they attract both. Pentas actually are a shrub with starry five-point flowers that are generally pink, red or white although new varieties include purple and lavender and even mixed blooms.
Vincas (Periwinkles): Vincas are perfect for hot and dry climates. Offering an array of colors in blue, pink, red or white, Vincas are low maintenance and are especially good for planting in containers.
Zinnias: Want to quickly add a burst of color to your garden; try Zinnias. Choose form orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow. You can’t go wrong with this hearty annual that grows quickly.
Visit the Marshall Grain nursery to find more annuals for your summer gardening pleasure and check online for our latest Organic Gardening Tips.
Marshall Grain’s Organic Planting Recipe For Containers & Flower Beds
Start your plants off right with this easy organic recipe. Make sure your soil is well composted. Then just mix expanded shale, earthworm castings and soft rock phosphate in your planting hole. Water in with liquid seaweed and top off with mulch for a great organic planting mix.
Soft rock phosphate
Make sure the area you are planting in is well-composted.
Always work from “wet to wet.” Soak plant containers and soil thoroughly to minimize transplant shock.
Dig a hole slightly larger in diameter than the plant’s existing container.
Add a layer of expanded shale to the planting hole.(Approximately 2 handfuls per 1-gal. plant.)
Remove your plant from its original container & loosen the roots. If necessary, score the sides of the root ball with a trowel or knife.
Make a 50-50 mixture of earthworm castings & soft rock phosphate. Add 2-3 handfuls per 1-gal. plant.
Mix 1oz of liquid seaweed in a gallon of water & pour into planting hole until thoroughly saturated.
Set your plant by filling in the hole around the roots. As you do this, drench your plant thoroughly with liquid seaweed mixture & tamp it down by pressing on the shoulder of the plant.
Top dress your beds & containers with mulch.
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