Seven Reasons Why Annie’s Annuals is Making Me Crazy


Annie’s is what every nursery should be: focused, specialized, and highly regional.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t check out her catalog if you’re outside of zones 9-10; as the name implies, she’s heavy on annuals, and you can probably grow a lot of them no matter where you are.

The 2010 catalog arrived this week, just as I was coming to terms with the fact that my garden is FULL–beyond full, really, and best left to its own devices this year.

But no.  Now I’ve got this catalog to try to resist.  Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s making me absolutely insane:


(photo credit Forest & Kim Starr via Annie’s; all other photos via Annie‘s.)

1.  Because now I have to make room for a dozen Agave attenuata–and wait ten years for them to do this.


2.  Because this is the native milkweed that feeds western Monarch butterflies.  And it’s fragrant. And it prefers bad soil and neglect.


3.  Because this is what they call a nigella.


4.  Because this is a native wildflower I’ve never even heard of.


5.  Because this red buckwheat is a pollinator magnet that also loves neglect, drought, and bad soil.


6.  Because of Iranian poppies with crazy curved seed pods (which you will have to check the print catalog to see.)



7.  Because the little tree they call the Kool-Aid bush actually smells like grape Kool-aid.

























  1. I love to look at Annie’s slideshows and drool! I’ve put many things into the cart, but didn’t order because… I live in North Carolina.

    So… I feed by annual addiction with seeds and seeds and more seeds.

  2. I get sucked in by the Puya alpestris which I could never grow in my garden, at least not for more than a season and that won’t help me get those glorious flowers. Annies is great.

  3. Oh, I couldn’t agree more. And I might add that Annie’s packages in cardboard and newspaper (not those silly styrofoam peanuts) and all her plants survived for me so far. Wish all mail order nurseries were like that.

    Order in multiples of 4 for maximum efficiency.

  4. I know! When I lived 15 min away from them, I was often broke! It’s just too easy to drive there with the intention of only buying a couple plants for that one pot – and ending up with a truck load (literally.)

  5. Cream cups (Platystemon californicus) is one of my favorite Calif. wildflowers. Seeds of it are impossible to find in the marketplace and Annie’s is the only nursery I know selling the plant. Of course, I save seeds from my own plants now and buy one new one every year to keep them from getting inbred year after year.

    As wonderful as the Annies catalog is, you must visit the nursery if only to see the gardens where many of their catalog pictures are taken.

  6. Not flowers, but my Seedsavers 2010 Yearbook arrived last week. And I thought my head was going to explode when I thumbed through something like 20 pages of tomatoes.

    And I have all my seeds for the year, or so I keep telling myself…

    So, it looks like I’d better visit the Annie’s site and at least get on the mailing list!

  7. Those slide shows were wonderful to view as a break to the most snow we have had in over 30 years. But I have a character flaw. I don’t get excited about Praire or Meadow plants. I have no interest in them for my garden, which is good, because soil and climate not conducive to their happieness. My brain whispers “weeds”. Doesn’t do that with native woodland plants.

  8. The selection at Annies is fantastic.
    Unless you live in a totally frost free zone you won’t see agave attenuattas perform like the ones in that photo.
    I garden in zone 9 and due to our chilly wet winters the agaves attenuattas become pocked with even the lightest frost damage and never seem to bloom like they do down in Santa Barbara and points south.
    Plus they are monocarpic anyways.

  9. I don’t “sign up” for anything, well almost nothing, but seriously, you have to get on their email list. The catalog is spectacular, but the slide shows are….well…they have to be seen!

  10. I love their website – the wish list auto email update function is dangerous, dangerous, dangerous! (And even more worrisome is that I can easily drive to their nursery directly… I’m trying to hold off on my next trip for a little bit longer!)

  11. Lalalalalalala I can’t hear you I’ve got my fingers in my ears I’m not listening no no no!!

    Sneaking off to Annie’s website . . . . .

  12. Another reason why I can’t wait to visit the S.F. area this summer and visit Annie’s!

    In the meantime, I will dream of agaves that will never perform like that in Zone 5.

  13. I don’t care how gorgeous that nigella is (and it is gorgeous). Nigellas are weeds in my garden, from one, count ’em one, planting about five years ago. I have resigned myself that I will have them forever [sigh] in places I really never wanted nigella at all.

    I wish I could justify her prices on a lot of her other stuff, but I’d have to think hard before I spent that kind of money on perennials, let alone something (with the exception of the nigella) that only lasts one season.

  14. Saturday I’m planning to head up the hill to Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. Guess I know what I’ll be doing this showery Sunday – head the other direction to Annie’s. Gosh I love living here !!

  15. Hi Amy! We hope you’ll succumb to the power of AA! Way cheaper and so much better for your heart & soul than going to Ikea or Target. You know I know you know what I mean! Come visit soon girlfriend!


  16. Besides their wonderful plants (and they grow SO MANY MORE than are even in the catalog) the folks at Annie’s are really great people too; a must-follow on Twitter and Facebook. And here’s a special shout-out to Elayne Takemoto who is not only the hilarious and knowledgeable voice behind the avatar in the pink dress, but also takes most of the photos and produces the catalog. Huzzah!

  17. Rut ro. I was never here. I don’t know what your talking about. Those aren’t the droids you’re looking for… dang! Those. are. gorgeous.

  18. danger garden and Laura Schaub said it best, but I think it should be said often: Annie’s rocks!

    A follow-up on stuff to grow from Annie’s outside Zones 9-10, I’m in Zone 6/Massachusetts and found an uncommon perennial called Cephalaria growing at Smith College Botanic Garden this summer. WHO had it for sale? You know who. I ordered six, they weathered the summer heat like champs, and were big enough that I’m looking forward to flowers this year.

  19. HUGE Annie’s fan! All the employees are JUST as wonderful as their plants….truly a spectacular place. I had one of the grape-kool-aid trees in my Central California garden which would just STOP people in their tracks with it’s incredible grape scent wafting down the street. It’s a stunner, for sure! And I echo Laura in saying ‘All Hail Elayne’….an absolutely fantastic person just brimming with humor and knowledge….

  20. How cool! Thanks for sharing these. No matter how many plants I know that wow me, there always seem to be a few more that I’ve never even heard of. I can’t wait to see how many of these we have at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Comments are closed.