Summer Annuals

I finally christened my new (to me) car with a trip to the garden center yesterday to buy plants. After totaling my beloved 4Runner, which we bought new in 2002, back in February (everyone was okay, but the car wasn't) I got a newer used replacement. I told my husband, Scott, that I did not want another new car for several reasons: I like the lower taxes, insurance, and lack of a car payment in an older vehicle, but most of all I want to haul plants and mulch in it without having to worry about damaging the car.

This car already has several scratches on it, so I won't have the pain of putting the first scratch on a new car. My 4Runner was accustomed to hauling all manner of garden supplies, including bags of leaves off the side of the road I picked up to use as free mulch in my garden, and, although I have not hauled any leaves in this car yet, I have at least filled the roomy cargo area with flats of annuals and their accompanying dirt.  I did confine all the dirt to the plastic cargo mat instead of soiling the carpet.

I love the change in the seasons because I have an excuse to buy annuals. Most of my garden is filled with shrubs and perennials, but I reserve some areas for annual color. Yesterday, I went to Woodley's Garden Center in Columbia and bought vincas, a heat loving and deer-resistant annual flower (not the vine) in pink and white, ageratums in blue, impatiens, gnome flowers, begonias, and petunias. I also got some Pineapple sage, because I have to have some every year; it blooms in the late summer and the hummingbirds love its red, tubular flowers. I also got Cuphea 'Batface,' a plant with red and purple flowers that look like a bat's face. My girls will love it.

Today, before the rain ran us inside, I pulled out the bedraggled pansies and pruned back the dianthus in preparation for planting the annuals tomorrow. I will put them among the perennials along the front of the border, in pots, and in bare spots. This summer, look for some of these summer annuals in your local garden center. At my house, they keep going until frost with very little care.

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