Annuals that last

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Daisy

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Annuals that last
« on: August 18, 2011, 08:45:42 AM »
Being very new to mediterranean gardening, I am constantly having to revise my ideas.
In my naivety, I assumed that annuals that flower all summer long in the U.K., would do the same here if given water at regular intervals.
So I sowed some Cosmos bipinnatus Purity along the top of a dividing wall, to separate two areas in my little garden.
This worked well for a couple of months.



However, I couldn't keep up with the deadheading.
They gradually became less and less attractive, going to seed and producing a lot of die back.
This morning I have pulled them all out.

Is there an annual that would keep flowering and looking good all the way through the summer?
I have some narcissus in the top of the wall, so an annual would work best there. I can just sow over the bulbs.
It would have to be in white, or, possibly blue would work as well.
I have tried to think, but all I can think of, is Euphorbia marginata. That would be fine, except the ones in my neighbourhood, have only recently started flowering. I would prefer something that would flower all summer.
Umbrian's forking larkspur looks lovely, but would it flower all summer?
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

Umbrian

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Re: Annuals that last
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 12:01:10 PM »
Hi Daisy,
My Forking Larkspur in the garden flower throughout the summer making airy but substantial plants.  In the spring one appeared in the gravel between some steps we have leading down to our Olive grove and was grazed by deer almost to the ground.It sprang back into life, a lower and bushier plant and has been covered with flowers ever since so, if you want real impact you could cut some or all of them back. Actually to cut some back and leave some to grow naturally might give a very pleasing effect. If you want seed just let me know!
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

Daisy

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Re: Annuals that last
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2011, 06:43:51 AM »
That's brilliant Umbrian!!!
I think the larkspur could work very well there.
Can you tell me, if they stand up to wind well?
I had already ordered seed from Chilterns, after I saw your post about them in another thread.
I had planned to use them elsewhere. So, I won't be needing your seed, thank-you very much.

I would still like to hear of other peoples suggestions, as it would be fun to have something different there each year.
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

Umbrian

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Re: Annuals that last
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2011, 07:29:11 AM »
Forking Larkspur appears to be a very delicate plant but because it branches freely from the main stem wind is no problem since it "goes with the flow" . I can get strong winds here too. It is a real survivor in many ways.
How about mixing in some seeds of "Love-in-a-Mist", Nigella damescena? This combination could be quite stunning as long as you did not too great a proportion of Nigella. I know it does not flower all through the summer but the seed heads are very attractive too. The wild form occurs in my garden with much paler flowers and, to my mind, is a more attractive plant than the cultivated form, a good contrast, in the same palette ,to the vivid blue of the Larkspur. I love trying out different combinations of plants for colour/habit etc and find that nature often leads the way when self seedlings throw up wonderful examples. (I am a very relaxed gardener and find it difficult to remove spontaneous seedlings unless they are obviously real undesirables!) :)
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

Daisy

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Re: Annuals that last
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2011, 06:39:01 AM »
I also have trouble removing self sown plants.
That is probably why I have Verbena bonariensis growing through everything. ::) ::) ::)
Umbrian, that is a good idea of yours to grow Love-in-a-Mist with the Forking Larkspur.
I have a group of Nigella damascena, with the seed heads ripening nicely.
I will try your suggestion, and take a photo to show how it has worked, next summer.
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

Umbrian

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Re: Annuals that last
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2011, 07:27:19 AM »
Another thought Daisy, you could try treating Gaura lindheimeri as an annual. I find that this self seeds well and new plants flower in their first year. I now like to pull out older plants that get too big and woody after 2 or 3 years and rely on the new ones for shorter, fresher looking plants. Removing the old plants in the early spring ensures that the new seedlings get sufficient light and moisture to develop They certainly flower continuously and need no watering to keep them going.
As regards Verbena bonariensis, that is another favourite of mine and I treat it in a similair way.I leave some of the older plants and they come into flower first but ,when they get a bit tired and dry looking the new years' plants are just beginning to flower and that is when I remove the older ones. Nature is good but sometimes needs a bit of manipulation!  :) :) :)
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.