Posts filed under Annuals

Exuberant Annual

Subzero temperatures and wind chill give me a craving for warm, sunny blooms!  Calendula satisfies that craving with their vivid, vibrant and vivacious flares of colour.  There are many varieties, coming in double or single blooms that range from straw blonde to citrus yellow, lustrous glowing orange and reaching into shades of apricot or strawberry-pink.  The center buttons accentuate in coppery to mauve or golden tones.  This exuberant annual is super easy to grow from seed, gifting you with blooms until the snow flies.  Often seed packets will contain a mix of colours or a mix of double and single blooms.  Seeds can be planted out once the ground is workable, preferring a sun or part sun site with average soil and water.  They also make an effective container and cut flower.  Their common name is ‘pot marigold’ though they are actually part of the daisy family, which you might guess as they are remindful of gerbera daisies.  Calendula is capable of self seeding (not invasive), and the seeds are easy to collect for re-planting (click here to read more on seed collecting).  Calendula petals magically capture sunshine for an animated glow, making them one of my favourite annuals!

Technical stuff – Calendula/pot marigold, flowering annual for sun or part sun, direct sow seeds once ground is workable or anytime in spring (once planted, about 8 weeks until blooming), up to 12”-18” high depending on variety, can be pinched back for bushier growth, great cut flower or container option.

Posted on November 18, 2014 and filed under Annuals.

Zippy And Zesty

The August planted arugula has grown into perfect green lusciousness, and I have fallen in love with it all over again! Arugala adds a unique zippy, zesty flavour, thus its alias of ‘rocket’, ‘salad rocket’ or ‘roquette’.  The tasty leaves can be added to salads, top a stir fry, or spice up an omelet or sandwich – yum!  And these peppery leafy greens are so easy to grow; sprinkle the seeds as evenly as you can over fresh soil in a ground or container garden, cover with another 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil and then water.  I haven’t tried them indoors, but may this winter!


Posted on September 30, 2014 and filed under Harvest, Annuals.

Portulaca In The Strawberries

I have a soft spot for self-seeders. How can I not appreciate any plant that seeds itself, and of its own accord, goes on to thrive and offer me sweet blooms?  You never know where a self-seeder may pop up – between stepping stones, amongst pea gravel, or in this case, in the strawberry patch.  I left a ripe strawberry for the photo below.  This portulaca warms my heart and has given me spritely blooms of encouragement all summer as I picked strawberries (ever bearing).  And it’s still going! Note - Portulaca is an annual, but quite happily self-seeds unless you dead head.



Posted on September 26, 2014 and filed under Inspiration, Annuals.

Colour Pop

This bitty but bold purslane has entertained me all summer, and hasn’t slowed down yet.  The colour pop blooms of frisky coral and tangerine open to the sun, so the pot is placed in a protected hot spot on the deck.  This also means their jaunty blooms greet me each time I walk into the backyard, so we’ve become good friends.  For me this is proof that planting even one little pot to cheer each day is worth the effort!

Posted on September 8, 2014 and filed under Inspiration, Annuals.

Summer In September

Marketing, schools, even nature with an early crimson branch of leaves, make us feel that fall is well underway - but it is not officially fall until September 22.  The garden is full of summer bloomers giving their glorious last kick at the can.  Especially this year, when here, we’ve had a cool summer that has let the blooms last and linger.  Some of the boisterous blossoms still singing the charm of summer:  perky false dragonhead, dramatic daylilies, clouds of blue hardy geranium, red hot crocosmia, spikey gayfeather, delicate yarrow.  Many annuals, including the zinnias and calendula below, are also still gifting us with joyful colour.  So get out this weekend, hopefully get some summer sun on your face, and walk a garden for a riot of early September blooms!

Posted on September 6, 2014 and filed under Inspiration, Annuals, Perennials.

Just A Pink Flower

A couple of weeks ago at the grocery store, they were selling off their remaining bedraggled plants at 15 cents.  I am always a sucker for a plant in need of a good home!  The gerbera daisy below, with mostly brown leaves and mystery bloom colour, came home with me.  It found a new home in an old kettle with some nutritious potting soil, and voila, in two weeks it has come back to life and gifted me with this stellar pink blossom.  The layered candy pink petals, and maroon button center with frilled edge, are pure delight.  And there is another bud pushing through - well worth the 15 cents!


Posted on August 27, 2014 and filed under Annuals, Inspiration.

The Blooms Of Nasturtium

Ribbed ruby velvet, golden yellow with tiger stripe, brilliant blazing orange - 'jewel mix' is an excellent name for a packet of nasturtium seeds.  This annual offers plentiful blooms from June to frost, with lily pad leaves in soft green or swirled with milky white.  I direct sow the seeds in mid-May, poking them an inch in the ground here, there and everywhere.  Their sprawling habit then fills gaps, surrounds shrubs, and intertwines with perennials to weave bright nodding blooms throughout the garden.  Nasturtiums are also a favourite cut flower. The blooms are fragile but long lasting, with the sweetest delicate fragrance.

Read more about nasturtiums by clicking here.


Posted on August 18, 2014 and filed under Annuals.

Interactive Garden

Pungent, spicy, aromatic...culinary herbs bring texture, depth and a whole other world of scent to the garden!  When walking my path, with thyme amongst the stepping stones, and mint mixed in the plantings, you need only slightly brush these herbs to release their fragrant rush.  Some herbs such as basil, rosemary and dill are annuals, but many herbs like sage, lavender, mint, thyme and lemon balm are perennials – just check the labels for zone information as there are many varieties.  The lavender and sage below are over 10 yrs old.  You cannot mention mint without a big warning on its invasive quality.  Mint needs a well contained bed of its own, or preferably a big pot to keep it contained.  Of course culinary herbs make one of the best container gardens.  I have herbs in pots, in the veggie garden and mixed in the perennial gardens.  For me, culinary herbs make the garden interactive: a caress of rosemary transfers my thoughts to the Mediterranean, a snack of mint or parsley awakens the palate, a leaf of lemon balm refreshes, velvety sage makes me think of holiday dinners, and dill makes me crave dips and pickles!

Posted on August 9, 2014 and filed under Guidance, Inspiration, Perennials, Annuals.

Glory Of The Morn

Morning glories are perfectly named!  Their swirled buds unravel to the morning sun in glorious bloom, and then fade as the heat of day moves in.  Morning glories are an annual vine north of the frost line, though they self-seed rampantly (this can be prevented, or at least curtailed, by regular deadheading, but it requires diligence!).  Some years I plant new seeds to change up the mix, and other years I let the self-seeders, like those above, come as they may.

Posted on August 7, 2014 and filed under Annuals.

Rainbow In The Garden

There are many plants I grow purely for the joy of their colourful blooms.  I love colour, in all shades, and am quite happy to have a riotous mix in my crazy garden.  Pops of colour add drama, surprise, and exuberance to the garden.  A few brilliant zinnias in a pot, a lush begonia bloom or a sweet shrub rose can add glorious pink.  The vibrant red and golden mix of a blanket flower can’t help but catch your eye. The hollyhock in sleek, elegant black enriches and enchants.  A drift of loosestrife in butter yellow, a simple ‘ditch lily’ in juicy orange, a spunky poppy or sunny rudbeckia, all build on the rainbow of the garden!

Posted on July 7, 2014 and filed under Inspiration, Perennials, Annuals.

Edible And Ornamental

Nasturtiums do double duty with perky orange, sunny yellow and rich red blooms, plus the leaves, buds and blossoms are all edible.  And triple duty, since although it is an annual, the seeds are easy to collect in the fall for replanting the next year.  Nasturtium directly translates as ‘nose twist’, due to the unique fragrance, and the peppery flavour of the blooms and leaves.  There are mounding bush or climbing vine varieties.  Both have rounded soft leaves and liberal flowers with several colour options.  These are also one of my favourite bouquet flowers thanks to their sweet scent, and long lasting, delicate blooms.  Nasturtiums are susceptible to aphids, though resist them if watered well.  I plant them in the veggie garden as an aphid lure; the aphids prefer the nasturtiums to most veggies, and the aphids are easy to see and remove (and squish underfoot!).  There are many varieties to choose from.  ‘Alaskan Mix’ is a regular for me, and this year I’m trying ‘King Theodore’ for crimson velvet blooms.  My seeds came from Floribunda Seeds – a delightful organic seed farm not far from where I grew up.  You can check them out at   It is worth the effort to pick up a packet of nasturtium seeds for container or ground - easy to grow, edible, and ornamental with abundant and assorted blooms!  

Technical stuff – Nasturtium/tropaeolum, annual, seeds can be started indoors for head start, or plant in ground after last frost, bush and vining varieties, bush variety grows about 12” tall, poor to average well drained soil, sun to part shade, blooms summer and fall.

Posted on April 22, 2014 and filed under Annuals.