One of the most asked questions of Carl and I when we have garden guests is:
"Why do you plant so many annuals?"
My semi-sassy comeback most of the time is:
We all know I have a bit of a fetish for the Bubblegum petunias in the Riverbed and on the Quarry hills in the full sun, but as we move into the shade after passing through the Egress Gate, another of my favorites come into view.
|No annuals at the entrance. (But hey, we got the Egress Gate welded and repainted this spring after I ran into it with the lawn mower two years ago.)
|Looking back through the gate to the north. No annuals here.
Here we are entering hosta territory and along with the hostas are my favorite shade annuals.
|Holey Rock Collection bordered in wax begonias and below:
|Tuberous 'Nonstop' begonias in a planter
|The begonias have been in bloom since June and these pictures were taken last week in late September.
The plant stand above was an art project Carl made in high school in 1972, it is actually a replica of a huge nail. It sat in our garage for years until I asked Carl if I could use it as a stand for flowers. When he said yes, it was whisked off to Mom's for a fanciful paint job of butterflies and flowers before coming back home to hold flowerpots for me.
At the base of the Nail Stand are more wax begonias and some red New Guinea impatiens from my friend, Brenda. Back in July, Brenda closed her greenhouse for the season and brought over several minivan loads of annuals. I was like a kid at Christmas! All those beauties to plant, oh, it was wonderful.
I do grow 90% of my own annuals from seed, but begonias take a long growing season under good strong grow lights to get started from seed, so I usually do end up buying them. They are powerhouses of bloom that can take shade, some direct sun, and can even withstand very cold nights, though a killing frost will do them in. And thanks to Brenda, this year I have them in drifts.
When I walk through the hosta beds at night, the white borders illuminate the trail.
I admit to not appreciating begonias very much early on in my gardening career. I used to think they weren't much to look at, but that's changed over the years when I realized how silly I'd been.
Brenda also brought me some Angelwing begonias:
It takes a big plant to fill a big urn, and this urn is big. This is our 2014 Junk Recycling addition to the garden. We took an old tool stand from the shop (the base/rectangular part) and put a decorative cast iron riser in place on the tool stand and added the top off of a stainless tank which measures some forty inches across and then a can of Rustoleum Bronze paint and there we had it, a big ol' urn for the hosta bed. And with the addition of the Dragonwing Begonia, it was fantastic from a distance and.......
up close and personal.
The hosta bed is nice and green, but the splash of color steals the show.
Annuals make me happy.
As I stroll through the hosta bed, appreciating the delicate tracery of the white pine needles in the sunset, the white begonias catch my eye once again.
I'm already thinking about next summer's annuals for a very different reason.....are you ready?
There's going to be a wedding in the family.
Our eldest son Joel and his beautiful fiancee, Abby, are getting married in June!
I've been poring over my seed catalogs from years past and when the new catalogs come in, you better bet I'll be ordering early.
We have to get this ol' Quarry Garden looking fantastic for this Most Special Event. (Can you tell I'm excited?) I keep thinking of all the stuff I'd like to change before next summer, but time is growing short. (Castle Aaargh....aaargh........)
But we'll do what we can as fast as we can.
June will be here before we know it.