Annual flowers complete their life cycle — vegetative plant, bloom, setting seed, to death of the plant — in one growing season. Most annuals need to be replanted each year, but others easily re-sow themselves. Their seed is scattered by wind, weather and wildlife, to pop up the next season when conditions are favorable. These unexpected visitors are called "volunteers" and can be a delight or a source of frustration, depending on your outlook and how rigidly you follow the garden's original design! Larkspur, cornflower, poppies, desert marigold, calendula, scarlet flax, gaillardia and Johnnyjump-ups are a few flowers that are easy to grow and readily reseed. Gardeners love annuals for their riotous colors. They perform quickly, especially if transplants are used, and provide relatively long periods of bloom. Annuals are particularly useful to conceal bare spots while landscape plants become established; create masses of color as a focal point; or fill containers to establish a cheerful presence at entryways and entertainment areas, including patios and pool decks. At the end of the annual's growing season, the entire plant is put in the compost pile and something else can take its place. Many gardeners find it fun to experiment with annuals. If you don't like the color combinations you chose, plant something else next season.
PUBLICATION AZ1100 4/99
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