Friday, 15 September 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - An Annual Event

Every year I grow a handful of annuals to plug the gaps in my garden, and in September they strut their stuff as if there is no tomorrow. Which, in the event of an early autumn, is tragically the case. Perhaps I should elevate annuals beyond gap-plugging, but I love using them to lift a dull corner of the garden or to add a new dimension to permanent schemes so that each border is slightly different every year.
Cosmos bipinnatus 'Cupcakes'
Cosmos is a stalwart of the garden gap. This year I stuck to Cosmos bipinnatus 'Cupcakes' with its remarkable unbroken single petal. It might be beautiful but I should have known better than to attempt to grow a plant with baking connotations. Needless to say 'Cupcakes' turned out like many of my culinary efforts: disappointing. For every light fluffy sponge, there were at least three flops failing to develop that gorgeous cupcake shape. 
Cosmos bipinnatus 'Cupcakes'
I accept that I am no Mary Berry, but for once I am unable to blame my culinary inadequacies. Perhaps other seeds infiltrated the batch, or 'Cupcakes' isn't as stable as we would hope. Either way, I have some very ordinary looking Cosmos among the cakes. It's like getting turnip surprise when you’re looking forward to double chocolate gooey pud with cream and custard. I might be disappointed, but the bees like the flops. Then again, more cupcakes might have made us all happy. 
Persicaria orientalis
A year ago today I posted about my hope that Persicaria orientalis would do the decent thing and seed itself around*. The good news is that it has! The even better news is that it relocates well. I have dug up a number of plants and placed them where I want them and they have all thrived, although they are shorter than their parents, unlike one particular Nicotiana affinis. It has reached dizzying heights by comparison to its bedfellows and would give Nicotiana sylvestris a run for its money. 
Nicotiana reaching for the sky
Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch' has exceeded my expectations. This huge, glorious clump of shining orange blooms towers over the sunflowers that are hanging their heads in deference to its marvellousness. Who can blame them? Even the wind and rain won't stand in the way of tithonia's magnificent display.
Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch'

Zinnia elegans 'State Fair' has been brightening up a dull corner for weeks. Next year I plan to sow more. I had intended to add these beauties to the cutting garden, but got sidetracked on the walk there by some Zinnia-sized gaps in the border. 
Zinnia 'State Fair'

Cosmos was destined for the cutting garden too and fell into a gap in the border en route. Seeds were more successful in getting to the cutting garden. Marigolds and cornflowers are mingling together and look particularly loved-up.
I have cut very few cornflowers because they are so popular with bees, yet all of these annuals have been used at some time in flower arrangements this summer. They have made such a difference in the garden and indoors. I really should sow a greater variety of them in future. Which annuals do you use for plugging border gaps and flower arranging?

*http://thegardeningshoe.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/twenty-first-century-gardeners.html

I am linking this post with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at http://www.maydreamsgardens.com/
Why not pop over there and see what is blooming in gardens elsewhere in the world?

44 comments:

  1. I like the idea of flower garden gaps, and cosmos fits that gap in yours. I didn't know there are cupcake-shaped cosmos! I have just received red cosmos through courier this morning from a friend in the south of our country. Wonder of wonders, i don't see any cosmos color here in the north aside from yellow and orange. I will just plant it because i am now planting nectar plants at the front garden, i don't care much if they match with the next one, as long as the butterflies love them. And outside the garden at the nearby orchard i am planting the butterfly host plants. I am now getting some seeds and cutting. I am sidetracking my addiction from hoya to butterflies, hahaha!

    That photo of the bee with that wonderful color blue is stunning!

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    1. Thank you! I am delighted that you are planting for butterflies!

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  2. Beautiful!
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

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  3. I agree with your plan to sow more zinnias next year. I only had one variety but is an enormous succes. The colors are so beautiful and they flower forever. Nicotiana is also on my todo list. they are the best for gaps.Groetjes,
    Hetty

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    1. I am falling more deeply in love with Zinnia. The flower buds are amazing!

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  4. I never got around to using annuals this year except for marigolds and portulaca and tithonia, but I agree with you that they are wonderful for plugging in those bare spots that inevitably occur. Yours are all just beautiful. I'm happy to see that you are using tithonia 'Torch'. It is a wonderful plant!

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    1. 'Torch' is an absolute winner. I will definitely be growing it again next year.

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  5. Having sown some cornflowers last September. I have had flowers for ages and at times they were just buzzing with bees,

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    1. They are surprisingly long lasting and massively popular with bees.

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  6. We do the same thing with annuals. They add a little pop to places. Your corn flowers are a great blue! This year we used a lot of white vinca along the sunny edge of the tropical garden. It's the edge that faces the pool and looks fabulous right now, right at eye level when we swim.

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  7. Your fillers are quite beautiful this time of year. I enjoy seeing all the furry little bumbles enjoying your flowers too. Happy GBBD.

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  8. I like your use of annuals to fill in the gaps. The Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch' and Zinnias are beautiful!

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    1. One day the garden might be full with no gaps... thank goodness for containers!

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  9. I never heard of cupcake cosmos and in the past two days I've heard three times about it. I'm thinking I need to add this to my garden next year. I love how it looks. Just beautiful. And planting gap filling plants is something I definitely need to plan better.

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    1. It is a beauty, but I would recommend sowing plenty if this year is anything to go by. There weren't enough with that gorgeous cupcake shape!

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  10. So glad you are enjoying the Tithonia! It is one of the truly great annuals. Its only defect is it makes a terrible cut flower.

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    1. It's all thanks to your blog that I grow it, Jason!

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  11. I rely on annuals that reseed themselves every year to fill in the gaps, too. That is too bad that your Cosmos didn't do well. That is one flower I rely on! I use 'Picotee' and a couple older varieties, though, so I'm not sure how 'Cupcake' does. Zinnias, on the other hand, never grow well for me! It is too bad since there are so many pretty ones, like your 'State Fair'.

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    1. I will have to sow more cupcakes next year and pick out the good ones! Shame about Zinnia in your garden - it's always disappointing when a good garden plant doesn't like our situation.

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  12. I too have Tithonia rotundifolia 'Torch' growing but did not photograph it for GBBD. Harvey and Irene knocked them all down, which, of course, does not matter at all to the butterflies. I think they will survive until frost so I will leave them laying down until then. They are great at reseeding.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

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    1. I didn't know it would reseed. I'll make sure I keep an eye out for seedlings!

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  13. I've seen so many Tilthonias on people's blogs this year - always with a bee on them :) I was growing cosmos as a cut flower but the stems were too short - I must make sure I grow the right ones next year. Alstromeiria in contrast is exceptionally good this year and lasts an ultra long time in the vase.

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    1. Alstroemeria lasts forever! I had a very generous clump of it in my last garden, but forgot to bring a little with me. The ones I bought for my new garden are taking ages to get going and I am wondering if they don't like it here.

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  14. My garden is young, so I don't have enough of flowering perennials yet to fill my garden all season, so I have to rely on annuals :) I grow cosmoses, zinnias, cornflowers, sunflowers, marigolds, calendulas and every year I try something new. This year I planted statice - and I fell in love with those flowers. I had lavender and white colors. They're absolutely amazing!

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    1. I haven't grown statice for ages - it's a wonderful plant! I have added it onto my 2018 seed list. Thank you for reminding me about it!

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  15. So many interesting annuals can be grown from seed. One of my faves is Ricinus (Castor Bean).

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    1. That is a beautiful plant with astonishing foliage!

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  16. Hello Sarah, we only have annuals for pot display really, there aren't any out in the garden that I can think of. I have seen gaps and spaces in the borders but I would tend to fill those in with perennials. I'm not organised enough to manage growing annuals from seed each year, the ones that do survive are the ones that self-seed everywhere (namely weeds!).

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  17. Cosmos, tagettes patula and pot marigolds. Sweet peas and morning glory.

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  18. I love cornflowers and cosmos! You remind me to definitely use these next year.

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  19. Sarah, for a while I tried to cut back on the annuals, getting the impression that real gardeners don't grow them. Well it didn't last long they are just brilliant for filling in those spaces as you say.
    persicaria is my current favourite perennial, they flower forever.

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    1. As you've discovered... real gardeners will grow anything!

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  20. Beautiful, I have never seen the Cup cake Cosmos before. So unique.

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  21. Beautiful annuals! Your Nicotiana is amazing! P. x

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    1. I'm not sure what got into that one, but I am enjoying seeing it in the border!

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  22. My garden gives me Californian poppies. Gazillions of them.

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    1. You are truly blessed! I love Californian poppies.

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