Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Annuals ‘need to be planted now’

Professional garden and landscape designer Dan Pearson has claimed that any annuals greenhouse growers intend to grow need to be planted now.

In an article for the UK national newspaper the Guardian, he said that this is simply one of the many aspects of gardening that ensures green-fingered enthusiasts are firmly grounded in the moment.

He added that this is not usually difficult, as the person's hands will be in the soil, with the sun or rain hitting the back of the neck – so they will always be firmly aware of the current climate conditions.

However, awareness of the future always needs to be borne in mind – so while this sometimes means drawing up a to-do list for tomorrow, it can also mean looking years ahead into the future.

Indeed, former presenter of Gardeners World and garden writer Alys Fowler recently claimed that planning ahead in this fashion is essential – particularly in the colder winter months.

She said that geraniums are one excellent example of plants that require this kind of attention.

This is because any new growths need to be nurtured within a four to six-week period – and cuttings need to be taken whenever roots start to appear at the base of a pot. As a result, close and vigilant attention needs to be paid to the plants.

Mr Pearson said that he is currently planning a half-year from now, as that is when the pots of annual seed that he has left to dry on his mantelpiece will start to make their display.

He added that this kind of planting can offer gardeners a good deal of scope to try their hand at nurturing a series of combinations.

For instance, he is attempting the tangerine Tagetes patula and pale Erigeron annuus through bronze fennel.

He also suggested that a finely rayed dahlia – which is particularly on-trend at the present time – would combine well with a diaphanous cage of Ammi majus.

"Annuals will often be putting out a lot of energy in autumn to ensure that their seeds are set before the winter," the expert commented, adding: "Pale-flowered Nasturtium 'Milkmaid' will be straddling the paths and the autumnal tones of Amaranthus 'Hot Biscuit' will be hitting the mood of the harvest festival with the last of the Helianthus 'Claret'."

"Cosmos in white, red and pink are almost at their best now and I can see it in their persistence that they are making sure that every last ounce of the growing season is invested in their future," Mr Pearson continued.