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Are Packs of Annuals a Bad Thing?

Hello, only my 2nd post, so maybe this is covered elsewhere and I haven't found it.. My neighbour gave me a few magazines yesterday, and in the gardening pages of one I read 'it is now considered inadvisable to buy packs of annual bedding plants that will be discarded at the end of summer.  Instead we should be growing plants from seed, preferably perennials'

Well, quite honestly it was one of those Wowzer moments for me..because I honestly hadn't even thought about it, have just loaded up with all sorts of my favourites from several nurseries and was just congratulating myself on how very pretty the containers looked..

But it does make sense.  But I have absolutely no room for a greenhouse/potting shed in this new small garden. But a packet of seeds means a couple of dozen perennials produced of each variety and there are only so many friends to palm them off to...But...and what about said nurseries, who must make a considerable part of their yearly profit from such plants..

And yet, and yet...I am aware that while I use peat-free compost, there's no indication that the plants I buy are in it.  And all the plastic pots and trays involved...

Crikey, what a shocking dilemma, as Wallace would say...


  • B3B3 Posts: 25,230
    But your annuals. Plant them. Enjoy them. Compost them at the end of the summer.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,091
    I wouldn't feel remotely guilty about buying your little plants @lesleywmU65roH:)
    There's a bit too much of this emotional blackmail going on in the gardening world nowadays IMO.
    My sister doesn't grow any of her plants from seed. She doesn't have anywhere suitable, but she likes plenty of colour in pots. She doesn't have the patience either. I don't do lots of annuals myself, but I have more time now, and somewhere to grow them. It's whatever suits you, and your circumstances.
    Take no notice, and enjoy your plants - however you come by them   :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I feel no guilt at buying in some bedding annuals -- I reuse their plastic trays to prick out/pot on those things that I do try from seed, or use for cuttings ( i don't have space to grow from seed but it gives me a lot of satisfaction to do so -- so i do seeds and cuttings too, and just accept that I won't have a great success rate on them).
    Kindness is always the right choice.
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 1,414
    We don't all have greenhouses or spare rooms to grow seeds in, what a cheek! I've never heard that before. 
    I never buy annuals, but I absolutely would if I wanted some - in my opinion, it's more important to have some plants than none, for wildlife but also aesthetics. What's their reason for the remark anyway?
  • UffUff Posts: 3,199
    I agree with all of you. Nowt wrong with buying annuals. Apart from everything else it gives jobs, provides pleasure (and a challenge) to grow them on. Don't know where these folks get their daft ideas from.
    SW SCOTLAND but born in Derbyshire
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Hold back on the instant outrage and read up on the debate. Andy Sturgeon gives some approaches.

    Many local councils have swapped over from putting in annuals every year and dumping them to putting in more perennial planting. My local parks have.

    Learning about differernt perspectives is not about inflicting 'guilt'. 🙄

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,091
    Just another stick to beat us with @Uff :/
    I often bought small tomato plants. When you compare the cost of buying seed, doing the propagating, and all the malarkey that goes with it, they can be very good value, especially if you only need a few plants. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,428
    From what l understand, Andy Sturgeon's main point was changing the use of bedding plants in large schemes to plants that are more pollinator friendly. I seem to remember Harrogate doing that a few years ago.
    As he says the cost of ripping them out and replacing them several times a year is costly, but personally l can't see that someone using a few plants either bought in or grown from seed or plugs in their own garden is so dreadful.

     l try and use as many plants as possible to attract the bees, but my MIL who is in her 90s likes things such as Busy Lizzies and French Marigolds, and my Nan used to have red bedding salvias, white alyssum and blue lobelia in her front garden. To be honest l can't recall seeing either garden humming with bees ! 

    We are all much more aware of the ongoing risk to bees, other pollinators and types of wildlife these days and many people are doing their best to encourage them into gardens, but l wouldn't have a problem with someone wanting a bedding plant scheme.

    Just enjoy your containers @lesleywmU65roH. Heaven knows there's enough depressing things going on in the world, we need to take every opportunity to enjoy our gardens, however big or small they are.
    The article made you think, and that's no bad thing, but don't feel guilty  :)
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,710
    I buy annuals to fill in gaps and brighten up beds of perennials. Since I moved house I don't have a greenhouse anymore.

    If everyone stopped buying annuals a lot of people would lose their jobs.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,847
    Most years I buy a few packs of bedding to fill gaps but this year I might not, because I'm on holiday next week then away for work for a week, and you can bet by the time those are over (mid-June) the shops won't have much left. I grow what I can from seeds and cuttings but no greenhouse means raising more than a few annual bedding  plants isn't possible in the space I have. If the trays are sturdy enough I keep them to reuse, but by the time I've got them home and got the plants out, they've often split. I suppose they make them thinner to use less plastic.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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