The “Annual” annuals decision

 In Blog, Summer


Such a slow start to summer this year but it’s finally time to decide which annuals you want in your garden.  Maybe you’re talking to your landscaper, like us at Green Thumb, and getting some advice or researching this year’s annual choice on your own.

As the garden centres open and burst with so many varieties and colours of annuals, take some time to make a plan. Choices, choices, choices!

Before you rush out and buy up the garden centre, here’s the big question is “is the soil ready?”  Remember our tip from our Warm Winter blog:

“If it’s too cold to sit on the soil, its cold to plant in it”.  Just a little longer…keep your new plants in the garage if you must…some plants are hardier than others so it’s worth it to ask questions at the garden centre.

By now, as you read this, the soil will soon be warm enough to start planting or at least to get ready.  Let the planning for planting begin.

Colour scheme?

I love a monochromatic garden of yellow.  Beautiful, lemon yellow  marigolds, transition through the colour palette to darker yellow, then burnt orange, to create warmth just by its bold colour.  Imagine all this colour coming together to create a marvelously stunning garden.  You’ll be the talk of your neighbourhood! I planted this grouping for a new restaurant a few years ago.  They had so many positive comments on it.  Marigolds are available in sizes from dwarf to giant so use the different heights to give dimension to your sea of sunshine.


As you’re putting together your garden plan, consider this important tip:

Plant shade-loving plants in the shade and sun lovers in the sun.  Sounds like common sense doesn’t it?  That’s where those little plant tags sticking out of the pots come in handy.  Just read them.  This will make care much easier.


I’ve got a favourites list for you.  It will help you get started:

Impatiens – Always a popular flower to brighten up those shady parts of your garden.  Lots of variety.  Lots of bold colour.   A staple in most Canadian garden centres.  Plant in blocks of colour to give punch.  Too many mixed colours look like the dog’s breakfast.


Petunias – Perfect for full sun patches of your garden.  Petunias are definitely a “go to” filler for many.  A good soaking once a week, fertilizer once a month,  along with the removal of dead flowers to prolong blooming, they are pretty low-maintenance.  When they get too “leggy” in late summer, tough love with a pair of shears will start them blooming all over again.


Snapdragons – Save room for these beauties.  Welcoming the sun, snapdragons provide you with about 10-15 blooms per stem.  They give your garden some height and some gorgeous flowers for bouquets to enjoy inside the house.


Asters – Well worth planting.  These later season bloomers love a rich, moist soil in the full sun.  The star shaped flowers don’t like to be crowded.  Let them soak in the sun, with space to breath.  Added bonus…butterflies love them!


Lobelia – A perfect border flower that will deal with the temperatures from mid-summer right up to the first frost.  Trailing lobelia is perfect for your hanging baskets and planters.  Blue or white.  Always a star!  Lobelia loves the full sun, but will tolerate some shade.


Border Plants (white and blue) – It’s important to plant your variety of border plants in the right light.  Remember, shade in shade and sun in sun.


Salvia – With the wide array of salvia from reds to purple, there is one for all areas of garden, sunny or shady.  They provide so much colour, but they don’t like the cool weather.  So make sure that we are well past any frost scares before you plant them.

Salvia-blue and red

As you take my annual suggestions into consideration, let me give you a few tips:

  • If you don’t want to do a lot of work, don’t plant geraniums if you don’t deadhead them constantly, you’ll have nothing.
  • Consider cutting back on annuals and start planting more perennials. Perennials will help reduce your dependence to have to start fresh every year. As they mature, they fill in.  You can even divide some of them to either share with another part of your garden…or a friend…such a nice idea!
  • There is no such thing as a maintenance free garden
  • Grasses are a bit easier and there are so many beautiful grasses that you can mix into your garden. They do tend to have a more casual look so not what you would plant in a more formal garden.


  • Visit your garden centre early and see what they have to suggest and what they’re selling this year. Some garden centres will let you order your plants and pick them up when the weather is ready for you to plant.  There are always new varieties  year to year.

We would love to see your garden as it comes together.  Share your pictures with us on social media.  Facebook and Twitter

For more great advice or simply great service that lets you relax and enjoy your outdoor space, contact Green Thumb Landscaping today. 

We will help you create a lasting landscape impression you will be proud of!

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