In May I received a box of plants from Proven Winners—mainly calibrachoa and verbena, in pinks, blackberry, and purple. I also received several flats of homegrown seedlings from a neighbor, intended for the public planters of Allentown. After finishing the planters, I had leftovers—zinnias, tall ageratum, petunias, coleus, and marigolds—that hung around in their plastic cells until I finally took pity and stuck them into containers here and there. Those who know my gardening habits will not be surprised that I still managed to spend a few hundreds on annuals in spite of all this largesse.
Now, toward the end of the season, I am surprised to find the Proven Winners still going strong—they were in bloom when they arrived, so I figured they’d run out of steam some time in August. Not so. I never fertilized any of them and merely deadheaded the verbena when I thought of it. I am not surprised to find my neighbors’ plants in fine form. The tall marigolds are especially handsome—classy single blooms with frilled petals, but I also love the ageratums, which make superb cut flowers, and the green zinnias. My neighbor has a way of culling through his seed catalogs to find the interesting varietals of common flowers that meet with upturned noses from most garden geeks.
And now it is these humble bedding plants that are providing most of the color in my back garden. Sure, there are still phlox, chelone, eupatoriums, and a few others, but these are the only plants that still have the same bright colors they exhibited in early July. I now find myself planning to plant more of Bob’s marigolds and ageratum next spring. Looking forward to marigolds! Who knew?