Annual Flowers - Colorful, Joyful and So Rewarding

(Jan Johnsen - angelonia, vinca and dusty miller)  

  Annual flowers - those that bloom all summer into late fall then give it up for good - are the secret to a joyful and colorful garden. 

I know people think planting annual flowers take too much work in spring but I say, "go ahead, try it! The rewards in your garden continue into the late fall."

(Jan Johnsen - profusion zinnias, marigolds,salvia, plectranthus)

Colorful annual flowers make us happy, enrich our lives and then sometimes take our breath away, to boot.

(Jan Johnsen - coleus, plectranthus,angelonia, and more)

I know all about annual flowers because after graduating college (landscape architecture focus) decades ago, I went to work in the display gardens at MOHONK MT. HOUSE in New Paltz, NY.

 I was not very happy about the situation because back then, in Landscape architecture school, flowers were not popular. In fact, not even considered!

I thought flowers 'beneath' me because I had drunk the 'koolaid' that said landscape architects need not be concerned with such superfluous things as flowers.

As I said, this was decades ago when marigolds and junipers ruled the U.S. landscape world. (smile).

(Mohonk Mountain House, incredible place)

But, as it always happens, the very thing you think is not good is actually the best thing you could ever hope for! Life works that way....

(one of the famed gazebos of Mohonk)

I ended up working for a Frenchman, Alain Grumberg, who had emigrated from France and was a Master Gardener in the truest sense of the word.

 He was head of the grounds at Mohonk and had won the "Best Resort Grounds in America' the year before I arrived.

(Versailles Gardens in France)

He had worked in the Versailles gardens before coming to this country...and I worked for him, seeding every annual, transplanting every seedling in the greenhouse and planting out every annual plant with him ....kind of tedious but wow, what an experience! The plant beds were amended every year with all natural, composted horse manure, the flowers fed with liquid fish emulsion.

The flower beds were graded with a  strong 'crown' in the center. 

(Part of the display gardens at Mohonk Mt. House)
I learned from Alain how to plant annual plants like a professional  - fast and perfect . Then I took care of the Victorian display garden here.  Edging, weeding ( no mulch!), and watering....

So here I am today, drawing the detailed site plans (grades, drainage, construction specs) and then planting the annuals as well! Kind of a double whammy....

(Verbena bonariensis and 'Senorita Rosalita' Salvia, a fun, tall combo)

And as I always say, when people visit a landscape, they don't say, "what lovely drain grates" but rather, "What incredible flowers"...its all about the flowers, don't you know.

And the bees, hummingbirds and butterflies will thank you too.

(Angelonia - 'Wedgwood Blue',)


  1. That resort is beautiful I had never heard of it before.

  2. I love flowers. Annuals do jazz up a garden.

  3. Some people refuse to have annuals and I do not understand that stance.

    1. Ok, sure, they are pretty... but my dad says its pointless to plant something just so it can die- unless you are going to eat it. It's not worth all that work. He's a great gardener.

  4. Sad to see the summer go but looking forward to new flower arrangements for fall coming soon.


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