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Lots of shovel action going on in my Apex neighborhood these days–and I’ve done my share of spring planting. But some of the best things in my garden right now are the hardy annuals I planted last fall.
Like these snapdragon–Bought in October at my favorite local plant source, Campbell road nursery, these transplants became very full and stocky over the winter. They are at least three times the size of the ones I forgot about, left in the cold frame, and didn’t plant til early March.
Larkspur is another terrific annual to plant in fall. I sowed these seeds in October, and I can’t wait for the tall spiky blue blooms that will be coming soon. It’s one of my favorite flowers and one of the best investments a Southern gardener can make.
So flip you calendar ahead to September and October and make a note in bold sharpie: Buy and plant hardy annuals. Next spring, you’ll be so glad you did.
PS. Don’t forget the kitchen garden. We’ve been eating our greens and leeks for about 6 weeks now. All were set out as transplants last fall and are so much better than what you get in the store. My purple cabbage is delicious!
Ok–if you really like those pots of mums all the stores have now–skip this blog post. Gardening is about doing what you like–Not what I like or your neighbor likes. It should be personal. Otherwise just hire some pros to come in and do your yard.
And in that vein, I don’t like those potted mums. I’ve tried them–but always failed. And while some people can make them work (en mass), not me. Potted mums need too much water–look too formal–bloom and move on too quickly. Planted in my garden–they look like hot house mushrooms and totally out of place.
Here’s what I spend my money on instead:
Hardy annuals and biennials like–pansies, viola, snapdragons, dianthus, foxgloves.
Winter vegetables like–collards, kale, mustard, chard
And the best value in gardening–a package of larkspur seed. In Novemeber, rake them in open soil and enjoy lovely blooms in spring.
Meanwhile to decorate my porch instead of mums–a bucket of garden foliage and grasses. They’re free and they’ve looked good in this old pail for weeks. (Check out the cool sign my friend Mandy sent me from France.)