Annuals are the plants of summer and they are not at their best right now. The old flowers on the African marigolds no longer dry up but become brown blobs, furry with mould and petunias struggle to open their flimsy petals. The zinnias are bravely marching on but constantly wet patches are starting to rot and the nasturtiums have been pulled up, leaving a harvest of seeds resembling a stony beach.
But a few are soldiering on. The statice (limonium) continues to look fresh and crisp and I must cut some to dry before it is too late. One clump was partnered with the annual grass Hordeum jubatum, squirreltail grass. This is a North American native that can self-seed. The flowerheads are tinged with pink when young but are strawy now. It is allegedly perennial in sandy soils.
Once again the balsams (Impatiens balsamifera) provide me with a dilemma. I am still not quite sure if I like them. I should be annoyed at this batch because they are supposed to be ‘Peppermint’ with double pink and white flowers. I am almost glad they are not right because the bees love the single flowers so much. The flowers are slightly hidden under the leaves. It is making lots of its furry seed pods. I was amazed that the plants I grew last year managed to produce a few seedlings, which have grown into plants as big as these that I carefully raised. If it manages to self seed then I am happy for it to do so.
The flowers on Salvia viridis (clary) are long gone but the coloured leaves at the top of the shoots are still looking good. This is another hardy annual that is worth growing for the bees, though the plants offer them little interest now.