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I love to add to a variety of annuals with beautiful blooms to my containers, borders, and raised beds for visual interest—and for the pollinators that frequent my edible gardens (we like to call this idea of planting ornamentals in our edible gardens, and vice versa, Garden BFFs). There are three annual flowers that I tend to plant every year in my gardens, raised beds, and containers: zinnias, nasturtiums, and calibrachoas. I have a few favourite varieties, but each gardening season seems to bring a new one to market.
Annuals with beautiful blooms
Zinnias have become staples in my raised beds. I love to plant them to add visual interest to a garden full of edibles, for the pollinators (I’ve seen hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies on them), and for summer bouquets. One tip I have is to read the seed packet. The first time I planted zinnias in my raised beds, I chose a packet of Pastel Dreams from Urban Harvest. They grew to be about four feet tall, shading out the edibles I had planted behind them. Oops! Now I know better.
Nasturtiums are another one of my garden must-haves. They make great “spillers” in containers and I use the edible flowers to top summer salads and desserts—the leaves are edible, too. Nasturtiums are also pollinator magnets and can be used as a trap crop for aphids. I loved growing Climbing Phoenix. The petals are so different from traditional nasturtium varieties—they’re serrated, whereas most varieties have more of a scalloped edge. I got my seeds from Renee’s Garden. And for 2019, I’m looking forward to planting Baby Rose, which I mentioned in my New plants for 2019 article.
Calibrachoas aka Superbells
I think my first introduction to calibrachoas was a sample plant of Holy Moly from Proven Winners a few years ago. I fell in love with the delicate blooms with interesting colours inside. Since then, I always include a calibrachoa in at least one of my ornamental arrangements. They are self cleaning, plants are lush and full, and the flowers bloom right through the fall. In fact, last year, I had some lovely double-flowering beauties in a container, which I forgot to take down because the plant bloomed through November! I’m drawn to the blooms that are multi-coloured with interesting details, like Evening Star.
What are your favourite annuals?