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Annual Flower Beds

Annual flower beds can be a delightful addition to your yard. All winter you can pore over seed catalogs and pick and choose unusual types of annual flowers that you may want to include along with your favorites.

Planting your bed every spring can be a ritual to mark the change of the seasons. There is something about putting your hands deep into the soil that is very satisfying and makes you feel connected to the Earth.

Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in a single season from sprouting to producing seeds for the next generation. Annuals are easy to grow from seed, or if you prefer some of the more common varieties, you can pick them up at your local garden center already in full bloom.

red annual flowerMany annuals are low or medium growing plants, but there are a few like sunflowers that can grow very tall. If you need more vertical interest in your annual garden, you may want to consider some trellises and vines like brown-eyed Susan or sweet peas. Cosmos also grow fairly tall, and they lend a cheery colorful note to the annual flower garden.

Types Of Annual Flowers

If you are looking for an old-fashioned garden, you may want to include some annual hollyhocks, snapdragons (they were always my favorite when I was a kid), petunias, marigolds, asters, bachelor's buttons, poppies, celosia, heliotrope, sweet peas, morning glories and zinnias. This will ensure a colorful garden full of flowers for bouquets and just enjoying in the garden.

If you want to plant with annuals that are available in most nurseries, you have the choice of pansies, petunias, celosia, windflowers, zinnias, pocketbook plant, strawflowers, geraniums, impatiens, stock, begonias, marigolds, and many others.

Tall annuals like rose mallow, cosmos and annual hollyhock grow quickly and make great choices for the back of annual flower beds. They come in several colors, so you can pick and choose what will suit your color scheme.

If you like monochromatic gardens, you can do one easily with an annual flower bed. For blues, there is browallia, a deep blue star-shaped flower, pansies come in some soft bluish shades, bachelor's buttons are a lovely blue, and ageratum is a soft feathery blue-lavender.

Pinks are well represented with hollyhocks, rose mallow, sweet peas, pansies, cleome, begonias and geraniums, among many others. Yellow is also a popular color that crosses several annual species.

A good addition to any annual garden is dusty miller. While it does have small yellow flower clusters, what really sets this plant apart is the foliage, which is silvery white.

Other interesting foliage plants to include in your annual flower beds include coleus, which comes in several brightly colored leafy varieties and caladium, which has large delicate leaves with exotic colors.

If you like everlastings, strawflowers and statice dry nicely, retaining full color. They last in dried arrangements for years, and they are very easy to grow in your annual flower bed. Bells of Ireland also make good additions to dried arrangements.

When your summer annuals are beginning to fade, you can replace them with flowering kale, a new batch of pansies . If you live in an area where water is a precious commodity, ice plant does well with drought conditions.

Edible annual flowers make a great addition to the annual flower bed. Nasturtiums have edible leaves and flowers that give a peppery bite to sandwiches and salads. Viola and pansy flowers are edible, as are marigold petals.

Annuals to plant for a fantastic cutting garden include sweet peas, smaller sunflowers, cosmos, zinnias, godetia, heliotrope and many others make for fragrant, colorful bouquets.

Annual flower beds can be a great source of joy. Just to have a space to put all those amazing old-fashioned favorites we remember from Grandma's garden can give us a sense of continuity and history, as well as providing us with some beauty in our yards.

Don't limit yourself to what you see in front of the grocery storeĀ… explore some of the specialty nurseries in your area and online nurseries or plant some from seed. Give yourself some room to grow some of the harder to find annuals. You won't regret it.

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