Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perk Up Winter Landscapes with Hardy Annuals!

This colorful combinations includes bright yellow pansies and 'Redbor' kale, a vegetable being grown as a winter hardy ornamental. If you haven't planted hardy annuals yet, now is the time to get it done! Include ornamental vegetables like mustard or kale to contrast the colors and shapes of blooming annuals.

There’s a lot more than just pansies awaiting your fall landscape on garden center shelves this autumn! As the exciting trend of cool season gardening grows, more and more winter hardy annuals are making their way into local garden centers each year. Winter hardy annuals are plants, like pansies, that grow during they cool part of the year. Planted in fall, most provide some color through winter but really put on their main show in spring, usually cranking up flower production as soil temperatures rise in February. This show continues through late April when rising temperatures bring the curtain down on the spring act, at just the right time to purchase and plant summer annuals in their place.

To get the best performance from your hardy annuals, be sure to prepare the soil well by mixing compost into the top six to eight inches, and also apply a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote or an organic fertilizer, which naturally release their nutrients over an extended time. To get the most bang for your buck, plant winter annuals in solid groups, rather than sprinkling them here and there all over the landscape, and choose bright colors like white, yellow, and orange. While pansies are what typically come to mind when planting winter annuals, there are actually several other varieties available at local garden centers. Keep an eye out for the following selections to add interest and color to your garden this winter and spring.

Click here to read the entire article on the Pender County Cooperative Extension website!

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