Choosing Annual Flowers for Masses and Drifts of Color
Annual Flowers to Make a Huge Statement
The Victorians called it carpet bedding - planting huge masses of the same annual flowers such as begonias in gigantic flowers beds. These masses and drifts of annual flowers create a big swathe of color in the landscape and are great for areas where you need a lot of flowers but you don't want to fuss with trying to plant an intricate garden. You can change the area yearly, since annual flowers live their entire life cycle in one season and are generally killed by a heavy frost. Most annual flowers are very inexpensive, making it an easy way to add instant color to your home or landscape.
Annual Flowers for Sun to Create Masses and Drifts
Sunny spots offer gardeners many choices. If you have a hot, sunny location and want to plant gigantic masses and drifts of pretty, colorful flowers, choose from among the following:
- Dahlia (dwarf)
- Gebrea daisy
- Lantana (attracts butterflies, too)
- Phlox drummondi
- Salvia splendens
You can either purchase flats of these annual flowers at the garden center or start them from seeds. Among the flowers on the list above, marigolds are especially easy to grow from seed. I've had great luck scatter-sowing saved marigold seeds in areas where I want to create big masses and drifts of color.
Annual Flowers for Shade to Create Carpet Beds
Carpet bedding plants for shady areas include numerous annual flowers you're probably already very familiar with, flowers that make their appearance regularly on garden center shelves. These are flowers that love the shade and thrive in shady areas.
Choose from among the following annual flowers for shade to create big masses and drifts of color or for your Victorian-inspired carpet bedding planting schemes:
Many books list torenia ("monkey flower") as a sun annual. In my experience, it does better in a partially shady area.
One thing to note is that flowers such as impatiens need a great deal of water. Even in shady locations, you will need to water daily during the summer months when the weather is hot and dry.
Using Annual Flowers as Focal Points
Planting big drifts and masses of annual flowers, especially flowers all of the same color or color family, creates a focal point in the garden. A focal point is a spot that draws attention. When you look at the landscape, focal points naturally attract attention. Instead of planting a row of impatiens marching along your front walkway, why not plant big masses and drifts of the same flowers to create garden focal points? Here are some ideas:
- Create an island bed on the lawn, and plant a huge mass of the same flower
- Plant big groups of similar flowers between your foundation shrubs near the home. The colorful annual flowers will really "pop" next to evergreens, for example, and you can choose colors to accent your home.
- Use drifts and masses of flowers in big tubs and planters.
Annual flowers are relatively inexpensive. Experiment with color this season and have fun in your garden!