Winners and Losers

Garden clippings for September 28, 2019

The summer annual flowers in our backyard are at their prime, showing lots of foliage and colour.  But October is around the corner and the shorter days with cooler nights will soon trigger their demise.

We can expect flowers to look just fine until Thanksgiving Day at which time wet weather and dipping temperatures will reduce their need for water.  By Halloween most flowers will have done their duty except for a few Geraniums and Salvias that don’t mind the cold.

Its at this time of the year that Cheryl and I review what’s in the garden and make plans for next year’s annual flowers.  As always there are plenty winners and a few losers.

My favorite bedding plant, hands down, is Lantana.  We have a few in containers and several in garden beds.  Lantana thrives in the hot sun and manages just fine if we occasionally let them dry out.  Bloom colour is orange, yellow, red and white.  In our backyard, hummingbirds and butterflies just love our Lantanas.

Coleus gets high marks from us because of its bushy growth that packs so much colour.  All our coleus are in containers where some are in full sun while others are growing in shade.  In previous years we have pruned the flowers and stem tips in order to prevent the foliage from becoming too leggy, but this year that wasn’t necessary.  Coleus is a foliage plant with multicoloured veined leaves in all colours of the rainbow.

The lowly Marigold is a top performer for us.  We have a large circular planter near the road that presents itself as a challenge for us because watering is a chore.  In May we gambled on dwarf yellow Marigolds and they performed beautifully.  We fertilized them once and watered 6 or 7 times and they never skipped a beat.

Vincas are a little-known annual flower that bear a striking resemblance to Impatiens.  Leaves are shiny and the flowers in pink, red and white are cheerful and long lasting.  Vincas are happiest when growing in heat and sun.

Asparagus Fern won’t win any awards for being colourful or pretty, but are a proven performer in flowerpots.  Plant one at the edge of a container and it will fill a void and will spill its foliage over the edge of the pot.

Hibiscus is a showstopper that commands attention for its incredible blooms in all colours.  Blooms are not long lasting but new blooms appear just as quick as the old blooms fall away.  We have two Hibiscus on the patio deck we will be bringing them indoors through winter. Hibiscus are famous for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds

On the loser side, we won’t be planting any Sunshine Impatiens next year.  They reportedly were supposed to flower in sun or shade, but ours were constantly thirsty and did not grow much beyond their original size.  The other plant that put on a mediocre show is Nicotiana.  In earlier years we enjoyed Nicotiana for its pink flowers that opened and closed with the sun, but this year they produced too many leaves and not enough flowers.