Annual Performance Review.

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Begonia benariensis ‘Surefire™ Rose’

I planted more annuals in my flowerbeds this year than I usually do: verbena in mixed jewel-like colours, hot red and orange Tagetes marigolds, and a few delicate pink snapdragons (with the notion that they would complement the handsome dark burgundy heritage ‘Black Prince’ that has been reseeding itself for the past three summers).  Anyone who regularly follows my blog knows how the story of the verbena ended:  the bunnies ate them (well, most of them, anyway).  And the snapdragons?  Well, let’s just say the little divas didn’t like the weather.  Or the soil.  Or something.  Even the Prince, usually so reliable, forgot his lines and stalked off the stage in a huff.  In the midst of all this chaos, the marigolds have managed to put on a brave, inspired performance, but really, once again, I’m questioning my ability to select annuals that don’t end up as rabbit chow AND keep on delivering.  It’s not too much to ask for, is it?  Well, okay, maybe….

At least, as far as my containers went, there were some definite big-time superstars.  I love begonias, but up until now, I’ve only grown tuberous types – I’ve got an ooey gooey soft spot for the rose-like flowers and all those magnificent colours!  But the fibrous (wax) begonia ‘Surefire™ Rose’ (one of Proven Winners’ new selections that will be available to home gardeners in 2014) easily won me over…the bronzy-green foliage is big and bold and the coral-red flowers persisted all summer long (they’re still going strong as I write this).  One of the reasons I like begonias so much is that they’re so low maintenance – water when needed, feed a bit of diluted liquid kelp twice a month, and…well…stand back and admire.  No staking, no deadheading, no hassle – and ‘Surefire™ Rose’ fits the bill nicely.  Call me a lazy gardener, but that’s just the way I like it.   Now if only I could poll the rabbits and find out what their least favourite flower is!   😉

What annuals performed best in your garden this year?

Do you grow begonias (of any type)?  Did you make the switch from impatiens to begonias due to downy mildew concerns?

(Although Proven Winners generously provided me with a few annual plant selections from their upcoming 2014 catalogue to trial in my zone 3 garden, I was not compensated to review them.  My opinions of how they performed are my own).

Flowery Prose links up – round one.

 

I haven’t done one of these posts since (gasp!) December, and there are so many interesting plant stories I want to share with you! I hope you enjoy this batch!

  • Frost weed (Verbesina virginica) doesn’t grow here in Alberta, so finding this post about it was something “new and cool” for me.  Are you familiar with this plant?
  • It’s time to sow your seeds (perhaps it’s even too late in many regions!).  If you live in Canada and want to source out companies that sell organic heirloom or rare seeds, check out this comprehensive list.
  • Have you heard about the devastation of Impatiens walleriana by downy mildew?   Find out what is going on and pursue the “grow or give up (and for what?)” debate here.  Will you risk planting Impatiens this year?
  • Some of you will be pruning your roses already…others will be digging out from the 10 cm (5 cm, actually – it just FEELS like more) of snow we received yesterday on top of the 20 cm we had four days ago.  (I’m not bitter at all, really!).  😉  Here’s a quick guide to getting your roses in tip-top shape.
  • If this is the year you plan to espalier your apple trees, then take a look at this handy post.
  • I really loved this entry I came across about the Floating Gardens of Inle Lake, in Burma (Myanmar).   Has anyone travelled there and seen these?
  • I don’t know if any of you have to deal with armadillos as a pest in your garden, but this article really freaked me out.  I’m glad I only have to tangle with rabbits and squirrels.  If armadillos are a problem where you live, do you take the measures this writer recommends?

It’s almost the weekend…yay!  How are you planning to spend it?