Posted by James E. Klett, CSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
As you start to think of your 2018 annual plantings in your yard, flowering annuals allow gardeners to be artists, planning and planting what will develop into a dazzling landscape planting. Yellows, oranges and reds give a feeling of warmth and excitement. Beds or borders of flowers in this color range stand out and provide drama.
|'KwikKombos Shooting Star Mix'|
Greens, blues and violets give a feeling of tranquility and coolness; they are perfect to use in close up areas or plantings designed to blend with the surroundings.
Some color combinations are especially pleasing. Large plantings of one color or shades of one color are popular, as are those using complementary hues of red and green, orange and blue, and yellow and violet. Their combinations should make attractive beds for the entire season.
Contrast plantings of bright annuals make quite a statement. Some eye-catching examples are a three-tiered plantings of tall African marigolds in the background, medium size orange marigolds in the middle and dwarf red French marigolds in the front; deep orange African marigolds or orange zinnias bordered with dusty miller; or violet blue farinacea salvia bordered with yellow dwarf French marigolds.
|'TrixiLiner Old Glory'|
Borders and beds are two of the most common ways to plant annuals. Borders are usually long and narrow, straight or free form plantings. They often have several types of flowers and are used to define or emphasize a walk or garden space.
Beds are solitary units or islands of flowers arranged in a circular, kidney, rectangular or free form shape. For practical maintenance, flower beds should be no more than five feet wide, to be assessable from both sides.
Determining which plants to use in borders and beds is a personal decision, but certain principles should be followed. It’s a good idea to combine spiky flowering plants such as stock, angelonia, salvia, snapdragons and plumed celosia with those that have a rounded shape- marigolds, phlox, ageratum, zinnia and geraniums.
|'TrixiLiner Batting Eyes'|
Pay attention to the heights of various plants. With borders, put tall plants in the back and shorter plants toward the front. With an island or bed planting, try to create a pyramid effect with the taller plants in the center and shorter ones around the edges.
Annuals are also often planted in containers. With this system, it is easy to change color schemes throughout the gardening season. For spring, enjoy pots of pansies, violas and forget-me-nots. When the heat of the summer gets the best of these cool seasonal flowers, you can replace with summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds, zinnias, begonias and geraniums.
|'Confetti Garden Fiori Square'|
Now is the time to plan your annual color for 2018 and be bold and experiment with color combinations to create your own landscape pictures this season.