August 25, 2006

Annuals that didn't work

Lobularia maritimaWhile we're on the subject of how not to grow things...

I started several annuals in flats and plugs this spring, to be fillers in the flower beds. Very few of them worked. The sweet alyssum caught hold eventually, but that's about it. The poppies and California poppies both have languished, barely growing and producing sparse, tiny blooms, if any. The African laceflower (Ammi majus) has mostly disappeared, and even the balsam hasn't done too well, except for the ones I sowed directly into the flower beds.

So what did I do wrong this time?

First, I sowed too late in the season. And I sowed outside. If you want to sow outside, you should do it very early in covered flats, aka wintersowing. The poppies I sowed in cardboard tubes (a home-made equivalent to peat pots), to avoid disturbing their roots later on, but it didn't help much. They survived, but never flourished.

Second, I put them into beds where I hadn't yet solved my earwig problem. In my defence, I hadn't yet realized that's what the problem was. Be that as it may, the laceflower in particular got chewed up almost as fast as I put it in the ground.

Other than that, I honestly don't know. I could succumb to perfectionism, and feel miserable about this. But there are more important things in life to feel miserable about, so I think I'll just feel glad that, while far from perfect, my flower beds are still providing beauty to the neighbourhood and a lovely place for my morning coffee.

Which won't stop me from trying to do better next year!

Technorati tag:


Leslie said...

The garden in our mind is always different from the one we end up with...but isn't that part of the fun? And I guess that is one of the marks of a gardener...we try to figure out what we might have done wrong or where we could improve but we also realize that we can't control everything and we know we'll try again next year! One of the reasons gardening is good for me is that it keeps reminding me that I can't control everything...a concept I have to relearn all the time...:)

Kasmira said...

Did you put the poppies in a true, full sun location? I grew california and proper (papaver) poppies and they did great with full sun and very little water.
I did wintersow them in containers. Although the rumor is that they don't transplant well, they didn't seem to mind moving from my containers to the soil one bit.
I guess you can always try again. The seeds for those two are usually inexpensive and plentiful.

Janet said...

Leslie, that sounds like a great gardening philosophy!

Kasmira, location wasn't the problem. I'd direct seeded the same things there last year and they did wonderfully. I had too much mulch (mostly leaves) down this year for self-seeding or direct-seeding to work. I've actually got one Californa poppy plant that succeeded in self-seeding doing wonderfully in a shadier bed where I didn't even grow them last year. Go figure.