An indispensible annual

46 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03
An indispensible annual

As I grow older I grow more and more annuals. I know this distresses many of my rock gardening friends...but that's too bad. I think that many annuals proffer colors and qualities that aren't matched by perennials. Some self sow and maintain themselves as reliably as perennials.

One that has impressed me enormously this spring is Roemeria refracta, a tiny poppy from the Mediterranean. It is only five or so inches tall and barely 8 inches across. It has been blooming for the better part of two months and shows no sign of stopping. It has multiplied tremendously since I first obtained it a few years ago, and is small enough and delicate enough that it doesn't seem to negatively impact its neighbors. I shall encourage it to spread more widely in my dry garden.

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Very nice!
I haven't grown this particular annual but I often grow other similar  poppies. I would believe that your climate should be ideal for annuals of this kind?

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Ulmann
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-04-24

Mary Ann does annuals too!  Many aren't alpines but they are very, very bright.  If you went to John and Anita Kistler's gardens in their heydays, it wasn't hard to tell which one was John's..bright colors with annuals. . . John never could turn down a bright red or bright orange no matter what it was!! Chuck

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Mary wrote:

Mary Ann does annuals too!  Many aren't alpines but they are very, very bright.  If you went to John and Anita Kistler's gardens in their heydays, it wasn't hard to tell which one was John's..bright colors with annuals. . . John never could turn down a bright red or bright orange no matter what it was!! Chuck

Welcome to the NARGS Forum Chuck and Mary Ann.  I too like a few annuals that "naturalize" in my garden.  I'm a fan of Cleome, there are some really good native North American ones, although with recent taxonomic upheaval, most of the North American species are now Polanisia.  One of my favorites is Polanisia dodencandra (Cleome marshalliana), with the fun common name of redwhisker clammyweed, native to most of North America.  Like all Cleome, they flower indefinitely as they advance up the stem; I find the flowers charming, little upright white "teeth", long red eyelashes, and a bright orange nectariferous ovary.  And look at those upright pods!
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PODO3

Plants can flower as small as 4" tall, but typically grow 1-2' tall, although in good years with lots of rain and if they seed into a richer soil area in sun, they can grow to 4' tall and make impressive plants.  All parts of the plant are glandular-sticky, with an acrid scent.  The large pea-pod-like seed pods are like maracas or salt shakers when they dry.  They pull out very easily and have almost not root, so an easy annual to allow to self seed, for interest through the summer.

Panayoti: I like the idea of having a little red poppy (Roemeria refracta) seeding about, these types of things provide summer color yet still look like natural wildflowers instead of bedding petunias and marigolds.  I have a couple other annuals I'll post here.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

vanachterberg
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-06

Very nice! I wonder where I can get seed of this.
Barbara van Achterberg

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

vanachterberg wrote:

Very nice! I wonder where I can get seed of this.
Barbara van Achterberg

Which one Barbara?  Roemeria refracta or Polanisia dodencandra?

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

One of my favorite native annuals that self sows around in my garden, a welcome infill for summer dormant alliums and bulbs, is the little Bluecurls, or Trichostema dichotomum. It is native to the eastern half of the USA and Canadian provinces. Now, there's one fellow who sometimes attends our local NARGS chapter meetings who will spin into a rant when he sees this plant at a chapter plant sale, claiming it to be one of the worst weeds possible and chiding the irresponsible member for donating such rubbish.  However, I find Bluecurls to be a thoroughly pleasant little annual that is easily controlled, never getting out of hand in the nearly two decades I've had it in the garden.  In fact, in late fall I pull up the dried plants and shake out the seeds to ensure some new plants appear the following year.

The common name of Bluecurls is an apt one, describing the long exserted stamens that curl downwards, adding a cute factor to the small bright blue flowers.  Plants don't get overly large (although listed as being able to reach 30"), for me they grow as compact little bushy plants rarely over a foot tall, usually less, the plants well branched, bearing simple leaves and a fresh batch of perky blue flowers every morning, the blooms dropping by mid to late afternoon.  All parts of the plant are sticky and give off a strong resinous aroma when brushed, which I rather like.  Does great even in very dry or drought conditions.  Also valuable, is the late flowering from August - October.

This annual plant gives the impression of being a wild plant, it even has a perennial look to it, so it fits well and looks natural in rock garden.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=TRDI2&photoID=trdi2_004_avp.jpg

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

That is a pretty, cheerful plant, Mark. Even if it were to prove weedy, I think I'd forgive it, being so brightly blue..... there are MUCH worse weeds, and perennial ones at that  :o  so I would agree with you to be rather tolerant of the cute thing!

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret)

Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK
Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Bluecurls (that's blåkrøller in Norw.) seems to be a loveable plant I would like to try at my cabin. If you ever get too much seed, Mark!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Hoy wrote:

Bluecurls (that's blåkrøller in Norw.) seems to be a loveable plant I would like to try at my cabin. If you ever get too much seed, Mark!

Is Bluecurls a different genus in Norway?  There are other genera that have these curled stamens and styles. I was googling, and it seems there is considerable variability among Trichostema dichotomum, depending on where it is found geographically. I would have to say, the ones I'm growing are a particularly good looking form, and compact growing.  I'll save some seed this year.  There are also some intriguing western American Trichostema species, some being perennial shrubs, I'll gather up some links later.  But I'll start with this link, to T. lanatum at Las Pilatas Nursery, a handsome evergreen shrub (must be perennial) looking something like one of the better Salvia species.
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/trichostema-lanatum

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

You can put me on your hopeful seed list for Blue Curls too, Mark.  Those stamens are unusual.  (I love weird.) 

Here is another useful annual: Nigella hispanica.  In good conditions it will grow 2ft+.  But in the more austere, it's very dwarf, flowering as short as 6 inches.  Like other nigellas, it has interesting seed pods, different from the more common N. damascena (Love in the Mist).  Here it is with Melica ciliata, which is whiter than the pic shows.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Pages

Log in or register to post comments