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 How To Use Annuals In Landscaping Your Garden

 By Paul Curran

An annual, from the point of view of the amateur gardener, is any
plant which must be replaced each year and which flowers only
once in its life. Annuals generally are grown from seed. The
chief advantage of annuals over perennials is their low cost.
Thousands of plants can be grown from a single packet of seeds.

Annuals are also very decorative, and provide the best source of
flowers for cutting. Their season of bloom is relatively long, as
well. Their chief disadvantage is the late date at which they
bloom. If annuals are used alone in a bed or border, a good part
of the season will pass with little to show in the way of color.

Annuals are also of use as a filler between shrubs set some
distance apart. This permits the shrub to grow, yet prevents too
stark an appearance. The sowing of annuals, of course, depends
upon the class to which they belong. The hardier flowers, such as
larkspur, poppies and cornflowers, can be profitably planted in
late fall. The ground preparation must be just as careful as for
spring planting.

Planting in fall is advantageous since it per mits the flowers to
get an early start the following spring. Certain other hardy
annuals can be planted early in spring as soon as the ground is
workable. It is a good idea to start some of the less hardy
annuals in seed pots, or in coldframes, as early as March.
Otherwise, these plants cannot be set out until all danger of
frost is gone. Outdoor planting of annuals in the spring follows
thorough soil preparation.

The seedbed must be carefully pulverized with a rake after it has
been prepared and prior to planting. Eliminate all lumps. The
seeds are sown broadcast in the patch selected, and then are
lightly covered with soil. The soil may be gently tamped after
the covering is completed. The patch should be identified with a
stake and some sort of sign. Flower seeds are best planted near
the surface.

In no case should they be sown more than 1 inch deep. The seeds
of larger plants which have a strong growth, such as sunflowers,
can be planted in hills spaced from 2 to 4 feet apart. Often,
annuals are planted in rows. This method is used when a cutting
garden is being grown. To do this, dig a shallow trench not more
than 1 inch deep with a trowel, or your fingers, and then place
the seed in the trench.

Sow more seed than appears necessary, and then trim out after the
plants appear above ground. Thinning is required, in any event,
for a good crop of annuals, if only to insure sufficient room for
each plant. Transplanting is a considerable shock in the life of
a plant, and unless it is carefully done, the plant will die. It
is a good idea to expose coldframes and potted seeds to the
outside air for a time before transplanting, in order to prevent
shock.

All the soil in the frame or pot should be used when
transplanting. Transplanting should be done on a cloudy, damp
day, if possible. If the soil is dry, it should be watered before
transplanting, and then thoroughly after the plants are in the
ground. If the day is sunny, some sort of shade should be
provided for the newly transferred plants. As soon as the plants
are established, these protective coverings can be removed.



About the Author
Paul Curran is CEO of Cuzcom Internet Publishing Group and
webmaster at Trees-and-Bushes.com, providing access to their
nursery supplier of a range of quality plants, trees, bushes,
shrubs, seeds and garden products. Visit their site now to
find a great selection of flowers for your garden

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