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In Search of Better Annuals

When you plan a flower garden, which you might be doing about this time, remember that annuals are essential.

Annuals will provide continuing flowers for the garden til the fall if you choose your varieties carefully.

When perennials have gone by and lost their bloom, annuals still shine in colors galore.

Since the Victorian garden of the nineteenth century, there has been a focus on the annual.

Perhaps because it was also the period when plant hunters traveled as far away as Africa, Asia, and South America for new varieties of flowering annuals.

It was then that the dahlia came from Mexico and the petunia from South America.

Breeding of Newer Annuals Needed

In 1947 garden writer John C. Wister edited the book Woman’s Home Companion Garden Book: For All Sections of United States and Canada.

Wister enlisted several writers to fill the chapters with helpful instructions on the many topics under which one could discuss such a wide area as ‘gardening.’

He does a superb job in the book. It is truly a resource and guide, even today, after seventy-five years.

I keep it on the shelve and refer to it when necessary, always ending up with the feeling that I am happy I have the book.

He devotes a section to the topic of ‘annuals.’

Wister writes, “Some of the showiest garden flowers are annuals.

“For this reason, perhaps, more work in selective breeding for improvements and disease-resistance has been done with annuals than with any other class of plants.”

In his words Wister paints a picture of what we have seen with annuals over several decades.

It should be no surprise that every year still brings new varieties of annuals like the petunia, coleus, and verbena.

New Verbena

The beautiful verbena ‘Lanai Peach’ received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. [below]

Syngenta Flowers has given us this new variety of the verbena.

Verbena ‘Lanai Peach’ [Image courtesy of Gardenia]

And so the search goes on.

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