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Designing with Annuals

by Cliff Sharples (chief cultivator)

When planting her front yard floral extravaganza, Racine, Wisconsin, gardener Kris Reisdorf paints a picture with annuals that's every bit as enchanting as a traditional perennial border. "I aim to create a garden that looks old-fashioned and has lots of wonderful things to pick from for making bouquets," she admits. And while the look appears wholly unstructured, there is a definite plan. Learn her secrets-and then sow your own patch of blooming nostalgic beauty.

START WITH SEEDLINGS

Sow your seeds ahead of time, so that when it's time to design the garden and actually plant, you have plants in hand. This will jump-start the bloom show and will also help you know exactly where you are placing plants, which is so key when interplanting annuals.

Flowerfromseed3.detail


AVOID STRAIGHT LINES

Soldier-straight rows and hard corners won't create a garden that's romantic and wildly old-fashioned. Give beds curves and dips, and plant flowers in driftsand odd-shaped clusters.

MIX HEIGHTS

In Kris' garden, beds vary in width from 6 to 10 feet and are viewed from both sides. This means that taller plants go to the inside of planting areas; short bloomers fit in at the edges. If flowers are grown against a wall or shrubbery backdrop, place tall bloomers in the back, shorter ones in the front.


BLEND FLOWER FORMS AND COLORS

Plant contrasting flower types side by side. For instance, mix tall, spiky plants, such as 'Victoria Blue' salvia with round-flowered petunias. Also, pair colors that are eye-pleasing: white zinnia and red celosia, yellow marigolds and cosmos, rose cleome, and purple heliotrope.

Zinnias_zinnia_angustifolia_white_star-1.thumb.detail

ZINNIA 'WHITE STAR'

Annuals_celosia_cristata_prestige_scarlet-1.medium.detailCELOSIA 'PRESTIGE SCARLET'

Cosmos_cosmos_sulphureus_cosmic_orange-1.medium.detailCOSMOS 'COSMIC ORANGE'

Annuals_cleome_hassleriana_sparkler_tm_rose-1.medium.detail

CLEOME 'SPARKLER ROSE'



SET A RYTHYM

"It's important for a garden to have good rhythm, so your eye travels the whole length of the bed, especially with one that's 50 feet long," Kris laughs. "Accomplish that with color." How? Don't cluster flowers of one color together in one part of the garden. Instead, repeat color blocks throughout the planting area, running them back to front and all down the length of the bed.

Tags

Seed starting, annual flowers, annual beds, garden design

comments

Hello How are you today i hope you are fine, My Name is Mercy, I will want us to be friends, for something important which I would like to share with you, and we will get to know each other better i am waiting for your responds in private email ID ( mercydiane385@yahoo.com ) <br/> <br/> <br/>
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marcydiané commented on 06/01/12
That cleome is such a great color. I have a serious weak spot for those hot pinks.
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butterfly commented on 03/19/10

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