Spring is here and the anticipated warm weather has many preparing for a beautiful summer garden.
If you’re looking for plants this season that come to flower quickly and bloom for a long time annuals are the plants to choose.
Gail Pugh, owner of Rock Lake Garden Centre, finds that there are many benefits making annuals a part of a garden.
“Annuals give a lot of colour all summer long, there’s a large variety of them, they are old-time favorites and are easy to maintain,” said Pugh.
When it comes to buying annuals Pugh suggests waiting until the weather is stable and the ground reaches a temperature of at least 52 F.
“Wait until you are ready to plant before you buy the flowers,” she said. “Rather than storing them in a shed or a garage until you’re ready to plant, leave them in the greenhouse where they can have the natural sunlight the greenhouse provides.”
When looking for a good quality annual that will last all season Pugh advises not purchasing ones that are overgrown or dried out.
“If they get too big in the tray they get rootbound, the roots grow in a ball,” she said. “When you go to plant them the roots won’t spread in the ground and get the nutrients that they need.”
To help be successful when planting annuals Pugh guides gardeners to prepare the soil and give the annuals daily attention.
“When planting, the ground should be worked up well and the annuals should be watered in,” she said. When the annuals have been planted you can sprinkle more water on them. After planting, look after them every day and you’ll benefit and enjoy them.”
For the first day of planting it may be an advantage to protect the annuals from the wind and the heat of the sun, if necessary.
To keep annuals vibrant and healthy Pugh suggests attending to them daily and at certain times during the day.
“Annuals should be watered once or twice a day,” she said. “Watering them early in the morning is the best time because it is cool enough so the moisture can remain in the soil. If flowers are watered in the early afternoon it may be too warm and the water will evaporate quickly and not reach the roots.”
Pugh also believes that after 3 p.m. is not an optimum time to water because there needs to be time for it to dry before it gets cool in the evening so that there isn’t too much moisture overnight.
In a garden, fertilizer is not necessary for annuals but Pugh suggests that if gardeners wish to use it, bone meal provides the sufficient nutrients.
Pugh does advise using fertilizer for potted annuals because the potting soil does not have enough nutrients to sustain the plant.
Pugh believes that the best a gardener can do to be successful with annuals this season is be patient, observing and allowing room for learning.
“If you’re just starting out take your time,” she said.”Know your plants and learn by doing.”