annual keepers: things i’ll re-order next year

impatiens fusion glowIT WAS A HARD YEAR FOR ANNUALS HERE: crazy rains and no heat to speak of. But one plant that impressed me (and still is, despite several nights lately in the high 30s), was an impatiens called ‘Fusion Glow’ (above). As I take the garden apart for winter, I’m keeping a list of good plants like this I’ll want to have again, because my memory sometimes tricks me by the time spring and annual-shopping roll around.

I’m not usually much of an impatiens lover, but ‘Fusion Glow’ and the Fusion series from the giant breeders Ball Horticultural will have a place here again next year for its mounding habit and free-flowering, and of course its lovely color (one of several in the series).

Also on my list to be sure to track down for next year: that elusive ‘Terra Cotta’ viola (above) I couldn’t find locally this year and should have ordered in advance. Come to think of it, Viola ‘Blue Bronze’ is on the list, too; I just didn’t love the substitutes I grew this year, as I have complained before.

abutilon leaves
Oh, and that variegated Abutilon I found without a label on it (which I have since ID’d). It’s named ‘Savitzii,’ and it will be here again in 2010; I’m asking my garden center to get it from the wholesaler for me. Though it produces orange flowers, all I really care about is those bold leaves (above).

What’s on your list so far as a repeat customer, a keeper (even if you cannot literally carry it over yourself)?

  1. Jane says:

    I will be getting more coreopsis Full Moon. I ordered one this year and it was gorgeous. I thought I’d purchased two additional ones locally but they turned out to be mislabeled. Rats. Full Moon is still blooming and is a lovely light yellow that complements almost anything else.

  2. Willi says:

    Do you have a hint for keeping track of the varieties you plant? I always lose the tags and my addled brain can’t remember varieties…so I’m always left wondering what the heck I planted.

  3. As of this summer, I can no longer live without ‘Big Red Judy’ Coleus. She has been and still is rather magnificent! Tall, slender and BOLD. She’s taken the heat in this unusual summer as high as 112 degrees without flinching. In the Seattle area, that’s saying a lot!

  4. Eric says:

    Heliotrope! Not sure if I like the leaves or the flowers the most. This is my second year planting it and it seems to be looking even nicer as the weather gets colder.

  5. Kathy says:

    I love Fusion Glow…I planted it for two years and was getting quite a few compliments. I was really showing off until I couldn’t find it this year anywhere. Apparently the NY Botanical Garden had cornered the market. I was there one day in early spring and the borders were filled with Fusion Gold.

  6. Becky says:

    Every year I put in a ribbon of Victoria Blue Salvia, woven around my one sunny perennial bed. They never disappoint. The blue positively glows, they bloom profusely without deadheading and the hummingbirds love it.

    My mother-in-law gave me 5 castor beans this spring. The plants are HUGE. Every one is a different combination of bright green and red. One in particular has dark red stems, burgundy leaves and has had flourescent red seed balls for a month. I will be trying to save seeds for next year off these. Any hints? (Yes, I know they are poisonous)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Becky. The seeds are pretty easy, I think – big, and simple to collect. Wait till they ripen (the pods go dry; usually the plant will be pretty far gone, too, by then) and then you harvest. Inside are three beans to a pod, I believe; remove them, and allow to dry awhile before packing them away in a dark, dry, cool place. Like any big seeds, from beans to corn or even pumpkins, you want to get much of the moisture out of them before storage, so they do not mold or decay. It’s a great plant.

      @Willi: I try to remember to bring one tag form each plant INDOORS and put it i an envelope so I can refer back to the pile of them if I forget a name. I also leave one buried inside the lip of each pot (so if I have 10 impatiens, I toss 8 tags and bring one inside and leave one in the pot). I have a journal where I supposed to record everything (ha!). One great thing many garden friends do is take a fast digital photo WITH the tag showing when they comehom fromt he garden center, and file those images on their computers all together.

  7. Amy says:

    Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ really impressed me this year. It suffered terribly during the raining season, and the slugs ate it back to nubs [the gardener — me — despite valiant efforts could not keep up with slug patrol!], but once the sun and heat of August arrived it grew lush and beautiful and looks like it will be lovely until frost.

  8. I started loving annuals this year! I have the peach impatiens in the Fusion line. It takes only one plant per container!

    I have my larkspur and other seeds ready to sow now for blooms next spring. I tried them this year for the first time and am totally smitten. And, they are deer resistant (unlike the impatiens that attract deer up onto the patio).


  9. Kali says:

    Just LOVE the Fusion series and was able to find them locally for a couple of years. This year I tracked them down on a website called SimplyBeautifulGardens.com. On the site, you can search for the nursery nearest you that carries them. I found one in Middletown, CT, right down the road from my sons college. He was nice enough to pick up a flat for me. It’s amazing what we plant geeks can find when we simply must have it!

  10. susan says:

    I also am a Fusion fan. They are still going strong. This year I planted two annuals that I wasn’t familiar with. One was a Mexican something. It had long wirey stems 18 inches at least, and tiny, orange red, button shaped flowers. Other than the fact that it seeded all over the place, it was really great in a mixed container. I am saving seeds and next year will be on top of the deadheading.
    Also, another great annual that I had never used was possibly called Blue Star. It had pretty star like flowers with very narrow, almost fern like foliage. I planted it in a mixed container with Nicotiana Sylvestris (another favorite), and it was about 6 to 8 inches tall and it bloomed all Summer, although it did get somewhat leggy.

  11. Wendy says:

    I, too, have a new-found love and admiration for coleus this year. It was hard to pick from all the varities, and I’m not sure which I ended up with (!), but they looked marvelous with my red wicker porch set; so they will definitely be coming back next year.

    Also, on the back porch I had given up impatiens in the flower boxes for petunias (their heady scent in the evenings was enthralling). But every year I’ve had them, they’re devastated in late July by an army of little white bugs….so I’m going back to the faithful and hearty impatiens (who aren’t the least bit impatient, really) ;-)

  12. chigal says:

    I’m going with psychedelic blue butterfly pansies again next year, only this time I’ll start them sooner and give them more sun when they go outside. I had thought they would fit into a semi-shade area all season, but I’ve learned my lesson with the aphids and the lack of that bronze blush. Short-term splash it is!

    Apart from the herbs I keep going year-round, I’m also stuck on moonflower vine and blue cascading lobelia. Gotta have ’em. I’m hoping my woodland shade loving plants overwinter alright — I’m going to wrap the pots, keep them close and hope for the best.

  13. I always take cuttings of a favourite impatiens, in case I can’t find it next year. A deep orange one with reddish stems I’ve kept for a few years now.
    Verbena Bonariensis is turning into a fave annual. Must have it now, every year. I only had a couple plants this year, and wished I had more.

    Taking tags and leaving them in a flowerpot on the counter works for me. Then when I have time, I get the camera out and photograph each tag for the record. Make a category in my photo library for “plant tags”. It works.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Sarah. Verbena bonariensis is a good one, yes. I always mean to have more; it’s easy from seed and self-sows but I forget to toss the seedheads where I want them, or order seed. Keep meaning to photograph my labels…sigh. :)

  14. Deirdre says:

    I grew pelargonium ‘Frenzy’ this year. It has the coolest leaves like a Mexican fiesta. I started a couple of late season cuttings to winter over in the house because i must have it again next year.

  15. candylei says:

    Woohoo. It’s only been in the low 40’s here in Maryland, but i know we’ll get hit with a frost before the end of October. That s what makes the sugar maples beautiful though even though we have to say goodbye to the annuals til next spring when we hope some of the seeds that fell from the plants germinate.

  16. catjane says:

    New to me this year and deserving of a repeat next year are a coleus called ‘Lancelot Velvet Mocha’ and a small Begonia sutherlandii. The coleus is upright, with chocolate colored, lance-shaped leaves. It never flowered, which is a plus as far as I’m concerned. The begonia is a trailing type with small, green leaves and single, orange flowers. It trails over a pot very nicely.

    I was disappointed in this years Fuchsia selections, so I’m going back to Fuchsia ‘Hidcote Beauty’ which fills a basket with pink and white flowers all summer.

  17. Ilona says:

    Love the fusion impatiens :) Last year I successfully wintered over some double impatiens. Needing to do that more and more… I find disappointment when expecting that favorites are offered the next season.

    I love your idea of tossing the labels into an envelope; that takes care of the fact that I need an easy way to gather such things together. i leave mine scattered and then end up throwing them away.

  18. Becky says:

    I toss my plant labels in a pot on the windowsill that my daughter painted in kindergarten. One winter evening I made a copy of the back of the label, then taped the label, front up on the copy. That way I have the info from the back, but the color picture from the front on the page. I slip these down into plastic page protectors.

    If I take pictures of the plants, or make notes about the plants, I just slip them into the protector to be taped down later. I try to write on the page where the plant came from and where I planted it. If a plant doesn’t live, the plastic sleeve goes in the back of the binder as a reminder of what didn’t work.

  19. Anne Hill says:

    Allysum ‘snow princess’ was a stand out in my garden this year. I am not usually a fan of expensive hybrids which seem artificial, but snow princess developed into huge mounds and continued blooming without needing to be dead-headed.
    I had an area under my lamp post with a white fringe tree, a gaura, white cosmos and silver fog euphorbia. It was a cloud of white in the evening.

  20. Susan Stone says:

    Salvia Black and Blue has kept the hummingbirds busy since late summer and always needs a place in my garden close to my back door. It looked great with Euphorbia Diamond Frost. I am also a big fan of Pennisetum Fireworks, and Jewels of Opar Limon for its beautiful lime green foliage and cute little seed balls. Favorite annual vine is Snail Vine although it didn’t bloom until late August this year.

  21. Liz Davey says:

    Browallia has been great this year and I will plant more next year. Will use it and coleus to replace impatiens which succumbed to the virus. With airborne spores from the wild jewelweed all around, I am not taking a chance growning any next year.

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