The Q&A Archives: New Garden

Question: I have never planted in my life and I am starting with these plants for my circular garden. My plants are: Ultra Bracycome, Geranium, Lisianthus (Blue Rose), Verbena Mix, Verbena Blue Violet, Blue Salvia, Ageratum, Lobelia, Hawaiian Blue Eyes and Impatiens. Please let me know which are perennials and which are not. Also how should I arrange/plant these plants since I don't know which should be on the border and which should be in the middle. The colors of these plants are either purple, blue or lavender. Please tell me what type of additional perennial plants I should get to break the monotonous color.

Answer: The distinction between annuals and perennials is that annuals grow, bloom, and set seed all in one season. Perennials live for two or more years. In warm winter climates such as yours, annuals can live over the winter months, and some annuals readily self-sow. Therefore, you can have annuals cropping up each spring even when you haven't planted them. Lucky you! Brachycome, or Swan River Daisy, is a half-hardy annual and may remain in the bed. It grows from 8" to 18" tall, depending upon sunlight and soil conditions. Geranium will probably be a perennial in your garden and may reach 2'-3' tall with equal spread. Verbena are rugged plants and can be treated as perennials. They will grow from 4"-24" tall and 8"-24" wide. Salvia will grow for one or two years before dying out. Expect the plants to reach 9"-30" in height. Lobelia, Blue Eyes, and Impatiens are annuals. All are low-growing and are good in front of borders. Ageratum is an annual, growing up to 24" tall. You might want to mix some pinks and whites in with your lavenders and blues. How about Dianthus, Nicotiana and white Cobbitty Daisies? Before planting be sure to amend the soil with plenty of organic matter to loosen the soil, provide nutrients and help retain moisture. Enjoy your new garden!

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