These are what I call Annual Perennials – because they are definitely
perennials but they flower for only one season of the year. The best
example of this has got to be the Chrysanthemum (or Mothers’ Day Flower in
Australia). It flowers for only one season in autumn and that’s it. It’s
leaves will remain, but we always cut them back. Another example is the
And another which bugs me because it only flowers for a few weeks: the
Banksia Rose. A gorgeous but annoying rambler which is perfect to grow up
through a plum tree. My plum flowers were white and the rose blossoms were
yellow. The plum blossom lasted longer than it did. But would I pull out
the rose because it didn’t bloom long enough? Definitely not.
The Real Perennials.
Here in Australia we have so many perennials which flower many times over
during the year. We don’t have to wait long for these beauties. eg. the
Plumbago bush. With its tiny pale blue flower clusters, it is the perfect
shrub to fill in large gaps or to make a hedge. They even have a butterfly
to match. A tiny blue one which looks like one of the flowers. My daughter
had a large Plumbago in a butterfly garden – out of the wind – and they
were a joy to see.
Even in the sub-tropics where I live we still have to wait and wait for
spring to bring us the flowering bulbs, and the annual plants which we
plant from seed.
However, for the stars of our gardens, the Perennial flowers – those who
just keep coming back every year – discover their amazing secret. How
perennials actually use the snow and cold underground to survive the
Bright Blue Evolvulus flower.
What Could Be A More Stunning Colour For A Workhorse Plant.
Evolvulus glomeratus. This is actually a perennial flower but it is so
stunning I’m leaving it here. It is a wonderful ground cover – so
exquisitely pretty – and the thing is it flowers for most of the year. It
is an ideal edging and rockery plant and will set off your annual plants
beautifully, quickly covering over the gap when they finish. Tough and
versatile and always there. Although mine was very pale and nondescript. I
had no idea back then that an Evolvulus could like like this! What a ground
cover. Tuck your annuals in between these exquisite jewels.
Blue, pink and purple Cornflowers in the Wheat.
The Humble Cornflower Can Be Quite Striking.
The Cornflower can be grown as an Annual or as a Perennial Flower,
depending on where you live. If you are in a cold climate, this humble
little plant would probably be considered a very tender annual. But if it
self seeds, you might be lucky to find some in Spring. Otherwise known as
Bachelor’s Buttons, they come in blue (Centaurea cyanus), pink, white and a
deep purple or lavender. I would never be without this gorgeous flower,
even if I kept it in a pot which I have done many times.
Cycle Your Plants?
Ideally, annual plants should be chosen so that their flowering periods
will happen in a cycle: when one finishes flowering, another begins.
Beautiful colour schemes can be achieved using this method. Early spring,
late spring, summer and then autumn and right into winter. This can be done
by planting different seeds two to three weeks apart. They are still in the
same planting and flowering seasons but they will flower at different
times. As for keeping your seeds after you gather (or harvest) them from
your own plants, keep them in paper bags and store in a cool environment
away from light. Then they won’t think it’s time to grow. You don’t want
them to sprout, so don’t get them wet or leave them in an area of high
And if you want to know the secret of growing real old-fashioned Annuals
like they do in England, the following book has taught me one thing, and
for that one thing I thank Lisa Mason Ziegler: Sow your seeds earlier than
even you thought possible. Just click on the picture to learn more about
Growing Annuals Using Cool Weather Techniques. See all about this book
which I have just finished. It has changed my life. Something drew me to
this book and I’m sure glad it did. Cool Flowers Page. Note: This book is
not just for the cut flower trade. It’s for us. Not one bad review.
Heirloom Annual Plants.
Heirloom Annual Plants are simply any plants which are not new or modern –
the ones we used to see at Grandma’s house. They are old fashioned in the
true meaning of the term. They have been passed down from generation to
generation in order to keep their outstanding qualities. They are not
polluted by any modern hybridizing, they keep their good old original
colours and fragrance and in the case of fruits and vegetables, they retain
their delicious taste. Some may be hundreds of years old, or they may even
be from the 1900’s. Naturally, they are usually grown organically for the
best effect. If you begin collecting them, then you run the risk of
becoming a real collector.