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Easter & Annuals go hand in hand

by Rebecca Sweet

 I’ll admit it – I haven’t included annuals in a design in a long, long time. Maybe even never.

I’m not talking about the drool-inducing annuals over at Annie’s Annuals.  I’m talking about the tried and true (some might say ‘boring’) ones that have been used over and over and over again.

Now, it’s not because I’m a plant snob, but simply a result of living in a mild climate.  Here in Northern California, many perennials are actually semi-evergreen, and overall it’s much less of a challenge to have a garden that looks fantastic year-round than it is in many other parts of the country.

Besides, if I were to create a design heavy with annuals, I’d have to trust that my client would  not only continue to re-plant the area each year but remember to amend the soil and feed those hungry heavy-feeders.   And what happens when my client has a particularly busy year and they don’t get around to re-planting the annuals area?  The result would be a giant hole in the design filled with weeds.

HOWEVER…having said that, I’ve had a change of heart. Maybe it’s because Easter is upon us these flowers remind me of the colorful easter eggs soon to fill my garden, or maybe it’s because I have spring fever after having gone through a rough winter with my foot surgery, but as I wandered around Ball Horticulture last week my eyes began to open to the beauty of these old fashioned flowers.  What’s old is new again, right?

The other person who joined our small group was Tony Bielaczyc, who was the garden editor for Martha Stewart magazine for the past umpteen years.  Since we were the only two designers in our group, we had a lot of fun comparing notes about which plants he uses in his New York City climate, and which ones I use here in California.  Creativity was definitely sparking, and I began to see annuals in a whole new light.  Besides, they’re just so darn pretty!

For any current clients who might be reading this, don’t worry – I’m not going to give you a design primarily using annuals.  But I am seriously considering adding some to your garden, especially if I can find some of the new varieties below.  Heads up – I’m really, really partial to the above ‘Antique Rose’ petunia…..

Enjoy the photos everyone, and Happy Easter!

Pretty, Pretty Petunias

Marvelous Million Bells

If you’d like to read about some of the other selections which I fell in love with, read my recommendations here, in Horticulture Online.

And happy planting everyone!



Darla April 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

There is just something so endearing about the ‘old’ tried and true, bring back memories of mom and grandma flowers that I must include every year in my gardens. Hoping that particular sights and smells will remind my children of days in the yard/garden.

Rebecca Sweet April 12, 2012 at 7:11 am

Hi Darla, I couldn’t agree more with you! My daughter is now sixteen and after returning home last night from a week in crowded LA, she said “I miss home and the smell of orange blossoms in the air”. Success!!! Keep up the good work – your children will absolutely remember the sights and smells of the garden you created for them!

patty craft April 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

Thanks for the link love, my friend! So glad you and Jeanette made the trip to Ball for Team Horticulture!

Rebecca Sweet April 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

My pleasure, Patty! I’m serious though – something happened to me there and I can’t stop thinking about how to re-invent regular ‘ol petunias in the landscape.

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