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Planning the Perfect Summer Annual Garden

Annuals are wonderfully diverse and easy to integrate into any garden. And, should you be dedicated to planting for pollinators, there are many annuals that attract bees and hummingbirds in droves.

Plant Lush: Little dots of color in expanses of mulch never looks good. Group the plants together to create dramatic displays of color. If you can only afford a few annuals, consider placing them in container gardens close to the front door. The plants will be more impactful and their close proximity to the home will make watering an easy task.

Choose Annuals as You Would Perennials: Look for plants with interesting foliage patterns, colors and textures. Sure annuals are often selected for their blooms, but their foliage can also be a key design feature in your garden.

ABOVE: My annuals are lush, leaving very little exposed soil. This translates to a solid mass of color, an incredible amount of pollinators and few weeds.

Water Smarts: Match your new plants’ water requirements with existing plants’ watering requirements. 

Integrate: We find that the most successful gardens, season-to season and year-to-year, blend annuals and perennials with small trees and shrubs. Annuals are perfect for filling in areas within a garden dominated by perennials. As we wait for the perennials to reach mature size (which may take a few years) the annuals add color and texture and minimize the need for mulch.  Bands of annuals within a garden are also a nice look. It allows one to change up the colors year-to year. The annuals, planted in generous bands, emulates the perennials planted in the same manner. Come fall, when the annuals are turned into the soil or removed, the area is top dressed with fresh pinestraw. The pinestraw protects the soil and creates an interesting band of color and texture within the garden. 

ABOVE: This garden space has new trees. In a few years it will be on the shady side. For the next few years I will use sun-loving annuals to add a lot of color. When the trees mature a bit more, I can shift and start adding perennials and annuals that prefer more shade.

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