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Talkback: Hardy annuals

Me I love them all,but who could resist sun flowers poppies stock and busy Lizzies,most of all though Pansies are my all time favourite all their sunny little faces even in the middle of winter with a wonderful array of colours.


  • Zinnias, they are just totally dramatic and fantastic value. Really long lasting, great as cut flower. Easy to germinate and come in some amazing varieties. The sexiest of which is Red Spider or even fireworks mixed.
    I sowed mine a week ago and they are already standing proud in their tray waiting to be potted on.
  • As I post this comment my computer is next to a deep windowsill (no greenhouse unfortunately) crammed with hardy annuals in little cell trays growing by the hour!
    Can't wait to see them all in the wonderful summer glory later in the season. For the sheer joy of watching something grow from a tiny seed to a beautiful flowering plant hardy annuals are hard to beat.
  • Hi I'm new to gardening and have just bought all my annual seeds. I've noticed on the seven day forecast above that there could be a ground frost on Sunday. Can I plant my seeds before this or will the frost kill them? I noticed the soil temperature doesn't go down to zero, so does this mean they will be alright. Any idea anyone? Thanks!!
  • Claire hardy annuals are just that- hardy.

    I have found self-sown nasturtiums,poppies and marigolds in my garden from last year so yes you can plant them.
  • Claire, If a ground frost is forecast I'd delay sowing for a week until conditions (and temperatures) improve. We're talking about hardy annuals here, with the emphasis on HARDY, so cold temperatures won't harm them. But seeds won't germinate if temperatures are below about 5˚C, so you won't be losing much time.

    An alternative to sowing directly in the soil is to soil in modular trays to grow plugs to plant out, but you'll need somewhere sheltered to do this, like a greenhouse. However, the way I think about this is that one of the joys of hardy annuals is that you can sow directly into teh soil where you want things to flower without the hassle of sowing in pots and planting out.

    What do others think?
  • I agree with Antonia - Sweet peas are so easy to grow and from just one packet of seeds you get a lovely, fragrant garden display and still loads of bunches for the house. I do have trouble getting busy lizzies to germinate - lucky if I get 8 plants from one packet of seeds. That's still enough to use in my hanging baskets but can anyone tell me where I might be going wrong?
  • I love poppies and have some pink ones sown a few years ago from seed collected from my mother-in-law's Essex garden. Every year I am treated to a glorious display as they self-seed prolifically, however I also save some seeds each year just in case we get a late frost that kills them all off. This year I am also trying the Californian poppies I got free with my Gardeners' World magazine and some 'Flanders poppies' from T&M.
    I also love pansies and marigolds as well as osteospermum.
    This year, for the first time, I will be trying sunflowers, again using the seeds I got with my GW mag. I will start these in the greenhouse though as I live in Sheffield and it can get quite cold at night right through the spring.
  • I couldn't agree more as to all the obvious advantages of growing annuals. Trouble is, I'll run out of space one of these years because of the number of them that self-seed! I too have poppies and nasturtiums back and without any of the nurturing that my perennials get.
    I wouldn't worry about sunflowers, by the way - I left one standing last autumn thinking of the birds but they didn't get there fast enough. Despite that really cold spell in Feb here in the south east, I keep having to pull out their unmistakable seedlings from the front of my border.
  • A splendid hardy annual is Salvia viridis. It gives you a variety of colour-white,blue.mauve,pink, all from one packet. Do not forget the forget-me-not which also comes in blue,pink,lilac and white. Limanthes douglasii is so hardy it will stand all year round in the vegetable garden and can be dug in for green manure.
  • I have a relatively small garden and am using as much space as I can for veg to feed the family but I could not be without the annuals that bring colour to the garden. I know that many prefer the green coolness of the foliage plants/shrubs but in the gloom of the current recession there is nothing nicer than the brashness the annuals promise to provide...gladenning even the hardest of hearts.
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