Edited by Dayle Cheever.
Sometimes we just want flowers in our garden, even though they take more water. What annuals are you planning to plant for spring and summer?
Sylvia L. Keating: Even though many consider alyssum a lowly plant, I like the plant very much. I discovered Walter Anderson’s nursery in Poway (and probably Point Loma, too) carries a wonderful, low growing white alyssum called ‘Snow Crystals’. It reseeds, of course, but keeps a wonderful, very low mounding shape. I don’t see the seeds for it anywhere. It’s a special plant.
Rebecca Prater: I have pots and pots of freesias. They are so easy. When the foliage dies back, I just stack the pots in the potting shed until the next February rolls around, when I move them out to the patio again. Sweet peas self-seed all over the garden and come back year after year. Love the fragrance!
Jim Bishop: I underplanted some of my potted agaves years ago with blue trailing lobelia. They last until hot weather sets in and I let them dry out a bit before removing some, so they leave some seed behind. Each fall they germinate and I move the little plants around as needed and the cycle repeats. Some years, if needed, I’ll add a few new, small plants from the nursery. I’ve tried a few other plants but love the blue and lobelia seems to be ignored by snails.
Kathleen Voltin: I put dahlia bulbs in this year for sentimental reasons. We have roses that my son uses for grafting.
Heather Hazen: Many of my annuals reseed themselves and they include Oriental poppies (red and lavender), Cerinthe major (Honeywort), California poppies, larkspur, calendulas, and nasturtium. Growing in coastal Encinitas.
Carol Bratton: This year I planted nasturtium seeds around my veggie beds. Not only are the flowers and leaves decorative, they’re EDIBLE. I have a half-dozen Talavera pots in my courtyard: at the gate, near my fountain, by my patio table, and beside the front door. I keep them filled with annuals in season for bright spot of color. The beds in the 50’ x 60’ courtyard tend to greenery: Naked Lady strappy leaves, rosemary, Calandrinia, Ribes, tree poppy, a coast live oak, three peppermint trees, and a chaste tree. In the center, a mini-lawn for the grandchildren. Sorry for the common names. I don’t have a plant manual here. Currently I am in Hazyview, South Africa, at an inn near the entrance to Kruger National Park. They have had years of drought, just as we have had. I can assure you that they don’t plant annuals. They rely on color from cape plumbago, cape honeysuckle, orange cannas, flame trees, floss silk trees, and a host of indigenous shrubs I don’t recognize with yellow or white flowers and/or variegated foliage. The lush 10-acre grounds depend on rainfall. They did have ample rains in the last two months, just as we enjoyed. We share the same climate as South Africa. That’s why we import so many of their plants! P.S. Membership: I hope to find a printed copy of the newsletter when I return in a few weeks. Thanks!
Susan Starr: I’m going to plant gomphrena again. Last year, I had orange ones in my front yard that bloomed throughout the summer and purple ones in the back, in the fall. They get by on relatively little water and make a bright spot in the garden. A nice easy care plant.
Dayle Cheever: I have amassed a rather diverse collection of flowering annuals over my 35 year tenure at my coastal garden. Spring is signaled in my patio garden by naturalized freesias in purple, yellow, cream, and red, which are followed closely by masses of nasturtiums that were here when I moved in and have been slowly trained to return along the edges of my backyard. A number of years ago, I received some Oriental poppy seeds and have enjoyed the return of a forest of red, pom-pom shaped poppies each spring. The plants are huge, but the flowers are worth the hassle. In addition, I have California poppies that have also naturalized and they returned with gusto this year. They even came up in my spinach bed and I did not have the heart to pull them, so they took over. All of these annuals have returned without any additional water from me, though the show will be fairly short lived. The rain this season has made all of my flowering plants happy this year. I even have a remarkable bloom from the various tillandsia balls scattered around my yard, which are currently covered with blue and pink flowers.