I couldn’t just ignore the end of the series. I had to mark the end with something, if only to justify spending so much time on plants that so many serious gardeners either ignore or dislike. Annuals are so often considered plants for beginners but I don’t see this as a criticism. As far as I am concerned, the mark of something for beginners is that it will be easy, reliable and likely to encourage rather than disappoint and defeat. So for that reason alone, annuals are rewarding.
It is not to say that I only want to grow plants that are as eager to please as a Labrador puppy. I want to challenge myself, my skills and my plodding determination. I want to grow plants that die of heartache if they can’t smell the spices of a Tibetan kitchen or that wilt in a fit of pique if I don’t check on them for 12 hours.
But I want a nice garden too. Annuals allow this, and in double-quick time. Most of my new garden is very informal but there is one, young, bed that is just for annuals. Last summer I filled it with pastel, scruffy annuals. At present it is full of myosotis, and this summer it will be home for marigolds. I like the way I can change things so dramatically and I like the speed of change.
Last year I planted at the end of May.
By the end of July it was looking very different.
And as the annuals matured at different times the bed changed character.
In other areas, the simplest annuals helped to fill the new beds, which would otherwise be bare.
While elsewhere, clumps of annuals that I had not tried before, were fun to see, like this poppy ‘Amazing Grey’
Annuals are so varied that there really is something for everyone. Most will grow on the leanest of diets and with minimal attention but are capable of so much more with extra care. And with packets priced at less than the cost of a coffee, they are great value too.