It’s time to take out the pansies and get creative! After a winter of pansies, violas, and kale (don’t get me wrong – all are beautiful), I’m ready for some variety!
With all the variety available, it can be difficult to narrow down which annuals to use. I’ve seen a lot of beds where someone decided to use a few of every kind of pretty flower they could find. As a plant lover, I completely understand the urge to do that. However, you take away from the beauty of each one by making your beds so busy.
Less is more. Choose a color pallet. Are you drawn to warm (bold) or cool (pastel) colors? You can usually answer this question by scrolling through flowers on Google images and paying attention to which ones you seem to like more. I’m a bold color kind of girl myself.
Once you have decided which route to take on the color, you need to figure out where you are planting. Is it sunny or shady? Take the time to pay attention to your area. Full sun typically means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Morning sun and afternoon sun are two totally different things. You can get plants that like a little shade to do well in an area with morning sun. If you have plants that get direct afternoon sun you want to choose plants that love being roasted! I call them tough cookies. In the south, afternoon sun will fry your plants faster than a hot knife through butter!
Here are a few options for full sun “tough cookies”:
Begonia - not all Begonias love the sun! Read the tag.
Zinnia - the profusion series are a super cool, low growing variety
Angelonia - one of my favorites for a vertical element
Here are some of my favorite for morning sun or shade:
Dragon Wing Begonia
Coleus - lots of variety for foliage color
Caladium - another good foliage plant
The next question is the size of the bed. You can get away with more variety in larger spaces. But, keep it simple for a smaller bed. You will make more of an impact by planting just one or two things in a mass for some pops of color.
Of course, make sure you have good composted organic topsoil. I typically dig out about 6” deep of lovely red clay and fill in the whole area with good topsoil. Plant your flowers according to the label. (Or, if you are like my sister or most of my friends, call me and I’ll hold your hand and talk you through it.) BE GENTLE when you take them out of their trays. Try to avoid handling them from the stems or leaves, just handle the roots. If you break a stem, it will be a little while before it grows back.
Finish off with a good layer of mulch and water that baby in and you will have something beautiful to enjoy all season long!