Continuing the parade of annuals from Part I . . .
Lupinus texensis - Ahhh...the Texas Bluebonnet. Do you know I've never seen one in real life until I grew it last year? I wondered if I could get it to bloom stage, but no problem! It really is the most luscious shade of blue.
Papaver rhoeas - These Shirley poppies are the only kind I've managed to grow as of yet. They're incredibly easy and self-seed freely, so if you don't want them, collect the seed heads. Mine produce all different shades of red and pink, as well as white with red accents. They're very delicate-looking flowers with that typical paper-petal look.
Alcea rosea - My first hollyhocks were grown from seed my grandma gave me, but these deep burgundy ones are from seed I collected behind a restaurant near here. They aren't black, but from a distance they look like it. Hollyhocks aren't an annual, rather a biennial. I always make sure to spread seed from the large pods so I am never without this old-fashioned favorite.
Emilia coccinea - Scarlet Tassel Flower was a newcomer to the garden this year and it grew and flowered like gangbusters. It's a small flower on tall wiry stems, but never failed to attract attention from garden visitors. When it goes to seed, the cottony seeds float in the air like dandelion seeds, so I'm pretty sure I'll be finding this all over the garden next year. Thomas Jefferson grew this at Monticello.
Dahlia - It took these dahlias most of the summer to reach blooming stage, but I was rewarded with beautiful 'painted' blooms. After we had a killing frost, I dug the tubers that had formed and they are now in the basement awaiting spring, when I will plant them out. This is the first time I've ever done this, so we'll see how it goes.
Euphorbia marginata - This is one of my very favorite annuals. It's easy to grow, glows in the garden, especially on a moonlit night, and has fun Explode-O-Pop seed pods. Be careful of the milky white sap though. It can cause skin irritation.
Gomphrena globosa - Also known as Globe Amaranth, this is a small flower whose blooms last a long time. I don't care for this color, so this year I'm going to grow them in red. I saw a patch of red ones at Inniswood Gardens and they were stunning.
Calendula officianalis - I have planted these for several years now. I purchased seeds the first year, and have always saved seeds from the plants for the following year. They are reliable germinators and undoubtedly would self-seed if I didn't purposely plant them. The color combinations are variable, which is one thing I love about them. The flowers are edible, too!
Lagurus ovatus - I love these Bunny Tails! They're short and grass-like, with fluffy little heads. I didn't think mine would ever make it to bloom stage, because the cats kept eating the foliage!
Iberis umbellata - This is the annual form of candytuft. I've grown it for a couple of years now and it too is a self-seeder. In fact, I didn't have to plant any seeds this past year and I allowed it to come up wherever it wanted. It has a wildflower look to it and produces flowers in lavender and white.
Ipomoea quamoclit - Known as Cypress Vine, this is a vigorous grower with small trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of red, pink, and white. Self-seeds freely and once you've planted this, you'll likely be pulling seedlings from areas where you don't want them . They're easily recognizable though.
Phaseolus coccineus - Not only are Scarlet Runner Bean's blooms pretty, the beans they produce are edible. This is a plant that grows so vigorously that it can be used as a privacy screen if it's given the proper support.
Part III will feature the last in this series of seed-grown annuals.
Monday, February 2, 2009