Well, all plants die eventually, but annuals die so quickly!
At least some of them do.
Like these evening-scented stock:
|Evening-scented stock, after the pull. Not all that pretty, but strangely sculptural. If I were a mixed-media artist, I might grow them just for the dead stems.|
And when you pull the dead annuals from the garden, you leave behind unsightly bare patches. But they don't stay bare for long because weeds are happy to populate them.
So...how do you deal with this problem?
Do you swear off annuals altogether?
Or is that too extreme?
Do you wait until your first batch of annuals (the evening scented stock, the cosmos) looks tattered and worn, then pull and replace with new bedding plants purchased at a nursery?
Personally, I have to say that after (a) sowing numerous different kinds of annual seeds, (b) getting zero germination on some of those, (c) spending time on my knees thinning out seedlings from the ones that sprouted too prolifically and (d) watching some of the survivors like this stock race through a bloom period and then toward an early demise, I'm ready to cut way back on sowing annuals next year.
But I can't quit them completely. Not when I see how much the birds and the bees and the butterflies enjoy months and months of cosmos and zinnia flowers.
How about you? Where do you come down on the annual/perennial divide?
If you do sow annuals, how do you deal with the inevitable bare patches? Do you mulch when the annuals die, then clear the mulch to sow next year?
And if you do still love annuals, despite their drawbacks, which are your favorites and why?
Comments -- and links to photos of annuals in your garden, either in bloom or in senescence -- are greatly appreciated!
ps - Despite all the slings and arrows I've just fired at annuals, I went ahead and planted a crop of sunflowers anyway a month or so ago. I've got one already in bloom (a volunteer from last year) and can't wait until the new crop flowers! Here's last year's volunteer:
|I know you're an annual, Senor Sunflower, but I love you anyway...|
PPS - Evening-scented stock (a.k.a. Matthiola longipetala) is described by EverWilde Farms, where I bought my seed, as "beautifully fragrant in the evening." Plant them near a patio or window to enjoy the "night perfume", suggests EverWilde. Not only would I have been unable to smell the night perfume from evening-scented stock through an open window, I couldn't even detect any fragrance with my nose practically buried in a drift of flowers. Your mileage may vary, but I thought this was practically unscented. Its only saving grace? The bumble bees seemed to enjoy visiting the flowers in early evening just when they opened or those ones that were still open in the early morning hours. That's not enough for me to plant these next year when there are plenty of other bee-friendly options out there. Can anyone tell me if Malcolmia maritima (a.k.a. Virginia Stock) is any more fragrant? I've got it on my list of future plants to try but I'm wary of making the same mistake twice -- especially when there are so many new mistakes I could potentially make! ;-)
PPPS - The title of this post pays homage to the 1992 song "The Trouble With Andre" by Brit Pop due Shakespears Sister. A friend of mine put it on a mix-tape for me in high school. Yes, a mix-tape. From back when there were tape recorders, around the same time as the dinosaurs. Anyway, I never had any idea what the song was actually about, but it sure is a catchy tune.