Annual Borders in ten steps
Annuals are simiply
plants which which are sown, flower and die in one year. Hardy
annuals are those which will tolerate frosts and are ideal to be
sown outside at this time of year. A spring sowing differs from an
autumn sowing in that it tends to produce a later flowering
Easily grown from
seed, a vast choice of hardy annuals are available to offer
long-lasting flowers from May to November (depending on
what you have sown!) These fast-growing plants provide an easy
and cost-effective way to give naturalistic planting, plug gaps and
fill the border with a summer full of colour.
The best thing is, if your
display doesn't quite work out or you don't like all the plants you
have choosen you can change it for next year!
How to sow seed
1. Remove all weeds (if they are perienial weeds like nettles
and danelions, make sure the roots are killed are removed.)
2. There is no need to add fertislisers or compost.
Annuals don't need either!
3. Rake the bed level aimimg for a surface of fine crumbs of
soils. As you rake the area walk up and down over it to firm
4. If you are sowing a large area with diffrent clumps of
annuals, make each area out with some sand. If you are sowing a mix
of seeds like an annual wildflower mix then there is no need to
5. Sow the seed! Either by broadcasting (scattering the seeds
over the area as evenly as possible) or by making drills (showing
seed in to shallow straight grooves). It doesn't matter which
method you pick although broadcast sowing is easilier. The
main disadvantage of broadcasting is that you cannot easily tell
weed seedlings apart from your sowings. If you are sowing
small areas which you will want to weed perhaps try drills.
6. Check seed packets to see if the seed needs covering.
If it does just give the area a gentle rake.
7. Keep down weeds with light hoeing or hand weeding. If
you have sown a large area with annual wildflowers for example,
like we do at Ness, then don't worry about the weeding. We
8. You may need to water in dry weather, especially when seeds
are germinating and seedlings are small. Just check the soil
first; take a teaspoon of soil from aabout 5cm below the soil
surface. It is damp and you can make a compressed ball then you
on't need to water.
9. You can deadhead to prolong flowering if you wish. You
don't have too, depending if you have the time or the
inclination. Needless to say we never deadhead our annual
10. Once everything has finihed flowering in the autumn, resist
the urge to tidy up! Seedheads and stems are valuable food
and living spaces for a whole range of wildlife. Just cut
everything down in spring and compost (as they are annuals you
don't need to worry about the roots either!)
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Gardens in April
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