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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – June 3

Every week I start off GardenLine with I Love This Plant/I Hate This Plant. Yes, there have been several plants that I’ve admitting disliking, but the majority of those selections that start of the show are in the “I Love This” category. Tomorrow I’m breaking with the norm of ten years and highlighting those annuals that I make sure to either grow or buy every year. I guess instead of “I Love This/I Hate This” I should call tomorrow’s segment, “I Must Have This Plant!

Scaevola – be it Blue Wonder or Whirlwind, you can’t go wrong with this plant. AKA: fan flower. In boxes, pots or the garden, it flowers all summer in full sun and needs no attention other than some fertilizer. A low-grower or cascading container plant, this annual mixes well with Wave petunias, Superpetunias and Verbenas. Let them mingle.

Snow Princess Alyssum – every garden needs it. Fragrant, flower filled and fabulous. It might look wimpy in the pot when you buy it, but take it from me: after one week in the ground or in a container it fills out and remains tight and full until hard frost. A must-have plant in sun or part-shade.

Mecardonia ‘Gold Dust’ – Fresh green foliage covered with small, bright yellow flowers all summer. A low, front-of-the-border or container plant that you can’t kill.

Profusion Zinnias – Round mounds of flowers, whether you deadhead them or not. My personal favorites are the pink and apricot shades, but all perform well and are perfect for adding to annual or perennial gardens.

Fusion Impatiens – Unusual colors and a more interesting look than the normal impatiens. Look for Peach Frost which has variegated foliage and peach-colored flowers.

Fuchsia Gartenmeister Bonstedt – upright fuchsia with coral flowers that blooms well in sun or part-shade. A striking, no work plant that is perfect for containers.

Setcreasea pallida, AKA purple heart – Dark purple foliage and small lavender flowers, a addition for mixed containers or a sunny border. Very drought-tolerant.

Blue Horizon Ageratum – Old fashioned, available in six-packs and a must-have plant for the cutting garden. Don’t look for flowers on the young plants – this isn’t one that will be in bloom when you buy it. But it is dependable and a beautiful shade of cornflower-blue. Not to mention one of those annuals that just gets better as the season goes on.

These aren’t the only annuals I love, of course – but they are the ones I make sure to plant every year.

I bought this Snow Princess Alyssum last week, and it was thin with only a few buds. After only one week in the soil, this is how it looks. I know that each of these plants will grow about 18" in diameter or more, be flower-filled until hard frost and it's fragrant!

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