On the Search for Spring


In which The Gay Recluse dreams about the garden.

When the February blues hit — and considering this winter, how could they not? — we like to immerse ourselves into dreams of spring, which entails many hours in the seed and plant catalogs. Though our garden is dominated by perennials, bushes and trees designed to draw forth the essence if not the reality (given our limitations) of an alpine garden, we like to reserve the pots for annuals  — sorry, purists! — because even though “friends don’t let friends buy annuals,” we find that they really do help add color when our garden tends to need it the most, i.e., through the drab period of late July and August. Last year we tried growing our annuals from seed with mixed results; some never got bigger than an inch or so, while others did eventually grow to the monstrous proportions we had anticipated. This year, we’re trying again, with an eye toward picking varieties that will all maybe actually thrive in the extremes of stultifying heat and humidity we seem to inevitably face each summer. Herewith our choices this year, with accompanying descriptions from the catalog:

Sunflower Sunny Smile (Helianthus annuus)
The big Sunflower you can grow in a small pot!

Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana x sanderae)
If your summers are hot and humid, Flowering Tobacco is the annual you MUST grow.

Zinnia Profusion (Zinnia)
Winner of Gold Medals Galore, this is the Best Zinnia EVER!


Salvia Park’s Whopper Lighthouse (Salvia splendens)
So big, bright, and bold it could only be a Whopper, this annual Salvia takes the world by storm from the moment you sow the seed.

Do you know about any “must-have” annuals for 2k9? (Keep in mind we live in the swamplands of New York City.) Let us know, or send links/pix!

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