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Add a Burst of Color with Annuals

annuals, floral design, flower borders, hot color flower borderWhat’s the difference between and annual and all the other types of flowers?  You already know from the name, they are plants that stay around for only a single season or year at best. In the professional nursery trade, annuals are the plants that bloom the entire season, rather than the typical couple of weeks.  They are the performers!  But, because they work so hard to provide those long bursts of color, they don’t last. There are other reasons, too, which we can discuss later. So the distinguishing characteristic of an annual for all practical purposes in your enjoyment of your outdoor space, is the long-lasting color! Let’s explore all the great ways annuals can be used in your landscape.

For professional designers, annuals can be used to fill in all the empty spaces in your designs until the woody plant material can grow out and mature. On plan sheets, annuals are labeled as seasonal color.  I suspect the seasonal color label is used to abdicate maintenance responsibilities to the unknown.  If you use seasonal color blocks within your design, you also must provide specifics for the planting and accountability for maintaining the blocks of color.

Assign planting minimum square feet and schedules in the contract specifications, and add this to the maintenance specs as well.  For most projects, you will want only a couple of bed changes a year, but for a retail shopping area, you might want as many as 4 different planting events. If the minimums are not in writing, when the time comes for replanting, everyone runs away in different directions.

Unless you provide the botanical name and cultivar of the specific plants you want to see growing on the site, you will end up with a surprise.  You may not be familiar with the latest fashion in annuals.  Available annuals change every year!  The popular species might have several thousand varieties, so they often come out with a new series every few years, and it is difficult to keep up unless you specialize in the seasonal color business.  One way to get around the confusion is to require the maintenance contractor to provide samples, or at least sample pictures, of the proposed bed changes to the owner’s property management agent for approval each season.  This allows some control over color schemes as well.

Let us know what has worked for you and we will publish the best tips on the site. Thanks!

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