Monday, October 24, 2016

My Annual Review Part One

Every June when I'm in the midst of planting my annuals and my knees start to ache, I stand up, stretch my back and catch myself sarcastically thinking the same thing, "In a few weeks you'll be tearing these all out again."  

Yes, I'm a pessimist, in case you hadn't noticed. 

Summer goes by too quickly; all the intense spring planting, weeding, pruning, and mulching seems so long ago already.  We'd had two killing frosts in a row complete with ice on the rain barrels.  The show's over for another year.

I started dismantling the garden last week, even though there are petunias and a few other plants still blooming.   I'll have to look the other way when I yank them out and toss them onto the trailer.  I find it difficult to remove flowering plants, but experience has taught me it is better to get it over with when the weather is nice.  It's a whole lot more unpleasant to wait and have fingers and toes achingly numb from working in cold, wet conditions.

Besides my passion for 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' petunias and the new 'Red Velour Tidal Waves, there were two other petunias in the garden I haven't mentioned. 
Bubblegum petunias and would you look at the size of those cannas!  Lots of digging in my future.

Tidal Wave 'Red Velour' and 'Silver'

One night at the end of June I was shopping at a big box store and noticed two petunias I'd never seen before in the clearance area.  One was Supertunia 'Pink Star Charm' and the other was Supertunia 'Flamingo'.  The pots had been badly over-watered (petunias don't like to be soggy) but the rather small blooms were intriguing and I thought I'd give them a try. 

I had a tiny aluminum planter we'd bought at a thrift store which was just the right size for a smaller petunia.  The next day when I tipped the plants out of their plastic pots the soil was dripping and there was algae forming on the surface.  It seemed my bargain buy wasn't much of a bargain.

After transplanting, they looked more forlorn than ever and I really didn't have high hopes for the poor things.  I held off on watering for over a week, checking the soil daily for moisture.  In another week, I was pleased to see them perking up a bit.

I am definitely going to look into buying these petunias earlier next spring.  One thing to remember about annuals is not to stress them at any stage of growth as poor treatment will affect their performance throughout the growing season.

Pink Star Charm in late July

Same plant in early October

If these little guys hadn't had such a hard time, I'm almost certain they would have been even more impressive. 

The above is not a fantastic picture of 'Supertunia Flamingo' and yes, it does resemble 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' quite a bit, but the plant and blooms are much more petite.  And it's still blooming after two hard frosts.  These two petunias are amazing in pots.

Let's see, what else did I plant?

 Nasturtiums, several different seed varieties; I think this one is a Park's Giant.
 Just before our killing frost, the vines had overtaken the East Quarry Hill and were heading out into the lawn.
A new nasturtium to me was 'Double Delight Cream'.  This was a very nice variety, stayed compact and was never out of flower. 

 I also grew some 'Empress of India' and a few other blends of old fashioned varieties in hanging pots on the gazebo.

Another old standby of mine is Zinnia 'Double Profusion Cherry'.  These are also from seed and they have always proven to be weather and mildew resistant.

I also tried a yellow celosia, 'Fresh Look Yellow'.  

There's nothing like zinnias to brighten up the joint.

 The Profusion Cherry zinnia always mixes well with 'Inca' marigolds and 'Fresh Look' yellow celosia, too.

Another favorite zinnia for me is  Zinnia Angustifolia 'Crystal White', or the narrow-leaved zinnia.  These little plants are as tough as nails and bloom non-stop making them true workhorses in the garden.

 These zinnias were planted in probably the worst soil in the garden; lining the driveway beds in better than fifty percent gravel.  They are still blooming despite two killing frosts.


 Let's see what else I had planted....

For some reason I had total crop failure on my Melampodium 'Melanie' seeds; this lonely plant came up as a volunteer in the garden, but we'll try again next year.  Melampodium is a fantastic annual and can take heat and drought.
 Another impulse buy for me in July was a tiny bag of dried up caladium bulbs marked down to twenty-five cents which turned out to be a great bargain.

I hope to be able to overwinter these bulbs; they were great performers.

For the second year in a row I planted marigold 'Alumia Cream' from seed, and added a new twist of mingling 'Fresh Look Yellow' celosia.  This was an interesting experiment as earlier in the season the marigolds were much more showy than the celosia.

For some reason, the marigolds started to decline earlier than usual, but then the celosia took over very well.  I removed the failing marigolds and let the celosias continue to do their thing.


  (It's October 24, and I still haven't removed them.)

Well, it's time to get moving for the day, I'll be back with more in my next post.  


Pamela Gordon said...

Wow!! What beautiful flowers in your gardens this year. They are gorgeous. I like the pink star petunia - quite a prolific bloomer even though it started out with such wet feet. :) I find it hard to pull out plants this time of year and have still left my zinnias blooming but now its so cold here and I have to get out and do it. We haven't even had a killing frost yet. Have a good week.

El Gaucho said...

Those are some cool petunias. I'm going to save this post and see if I can locate some of these varieties at my local nursery next year.

Anonymous said...

Golly, your gardens are gorgeous! I really appreciate that you provide some long shots of the whole bed and and yard along with closeups. It really helps a beginner like me to see the "big picture."

outlawgardener said...

Your garden always blows my mind with both its beauty and in thinking about all the work you do to replant so many beds each year with beautifully-colored annuals. The end result is breathtaking!