This is the third and final post in my series on annuals that I have grown here at Our Little Acre. I hope you'll try some of these in your own gardens this year!
Osteospermum 'Orange Symphony' - I bought the plants for these African Daisies a few years ago and have saved the seed each year. I've got 'Lemon Symphony' too.
Asclepias curassavica - This annual milkweed is the most vibrantly colored in the family and I would grow it for its beauty even if I didn't grow it for the Monarchs. Look closely and you can see the tiny Monarch caterpillars on this one. Like the other Asclepias, it forms seed pods and I save the seeds for the following year.
Ipomoea lobata - Known as Spanish Flag or Firecracker Vine, last summer was the first year I grew this. It vined up a maple tree that had come up volunteer through a rock pile and grew well in that shade! The leaves obviously show a deficiency or insect damage, but it bloomed beautifully all the same.
Cosmos sulphureus - Somehow, since I'd never grown these before, I misidentified them as marigolds due to their foliage similarity, but thanks to garden bloggers, saw the error of my ways. These are annuals that no garden should be without. They are so beautifully colorful and bloom non-stop with deadheading. I think they'd bloom non-stop even without deadheading. They are simply gorgeous.
Convolvulus tricolor 'Ensign Blue' - These morning glory relatives are not vining and produce the most vibrant color of blue you'll ever see. This is the plant that introduced me to the Gold Bug, a fascinating beetle. However, it will pepper the leaves with holes if you have any number of them, because this is one of their favorites.
Nigella damascena - Known as Love-In-A-Mist, the foliage is pretty, the blooms are pretty, and the seed pods are pretty. Its blooms are gorgeous in every detail and they will return year after year, because this is a vigorous self-seeder. I don't mind though.
Verbena bonariensis - I first learned of this butterfly magnet through garden blogs and decided to give it a try here. WOW! What a great plant! It's supposed to self-seed, but I saved seed as well, just in case.
Amaranthus 'Pygmy Torch' - This was a big lesson in the value of thinning your seedlings. When I first saw this coming up after direct seeding, I wanted to laugh. It was literally a burgundy carpet. As it grew, I thought about thinning, and well, just didn't. I know it's supposed to be a shorter variety, but not this short. Still, it was an attention-getter in the garden. It's hard to ignore a solid mass of this color, no matter how tall it is. And I have a feeling I won't need to plant it at all this year, if these are like other Amaranthus.
Lathyrus odoratus 'Cupani's Original' - I'd never grown sweet peas before, but grew three different ones this past year. This particular cultivar is the one from which all other cultivars were developed. They were grown in the late 17th century and were named for a Sicilian monk. The combination of color shades is one of my favorites and the fragrance is nice. It's a heavy bloomer, especially if you keep it deadheaded and it produces lots of seed pods. I'm definitely growing it again next year.
Did you see anything you might like to grow in your gardens this year? These proved to be easy for me, unlike some other annuals that I've had difficulty growing well or even at all. That will be saved for another post.
What annuals have you grown that you liked and would grow again?
Attention on Annuals -Part I
Attention on Annual - Part II
Swallowtail Garden Seeds
The Monticello Store
Seed Savers Exchange