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Blanket flower is a bushy annual that produces red or yellow (or red and yellow) flowers over a long season. The blooms are daisy-shaped with a dark purple central disk. Growing to about 18 inches tall, this native of central and southern U.S. and Mexico is nice in a meadow, cut flower garden, border, or rock garden.
A bushy, hairy-leaved annual, globe amaranth bears round purple flower bracts on thick stems in summer and early fall. This plant is useful as summer bedding or in a border or cutting garden. It is fairly drought tolerant and very heat tolerant. It grows to about 2 feet tall.
An upright, bushy annual with flowers (actually bracts) that resemble bright red strawberries with tiny yellow "seeds." Flowers are produced from summer to early fall and are great for cutting and drying. Leaves are hairy. Gomphrena is fairly drought tolerant and very heat tolerant. Use as bedding, in a border, or in a cut flower garden.
Sunflowers are some of the easiest plants to start from seed. They are available in numerous cultivars which span the range of heights, flower colors, and form.
These branching plants with thick stems and glossy mid-green leaves grow 5 to 6 feet tall. Slightly nodding flowerheads 2.5 inches or more across appear in summer. Bright yellow ray florets are sometimes flushed with red or purple-red disk florets.
A seldom-seen annual or short-lived perennial, this easy-to-grow plant performs as the perfect filler in beds and containers. It forms a well-branched compact mound of deeply lobed, dark green leaves, which provide an interesting textural backdrop to its charming, hibiscus-type flowers. The flowers are truly stunning with their cream petals, purple-hued undersides, and deep burgundy centers. While each flower lasts only a single day, the plant blooms profusely all season and produces inflated seedpods. The flowers will not normally open on a cloudy day, but this is a small price to pay for such a gem of a plant.
Cardinal climber is a twining annual with deeply lobed mid-green leaves and 1-inch crimson blooms with white throats appearing in summer.
This unusual annual vine can add vertical interest to the garden. Its vivid blossoms (red tooth-like flowers that fade to orange and then yellow and white) are a hummingbird magnet. Firecracker vine can bloom year round in warm climates, but generally blooms from summer to fall. It is a native of Mexico and Central and South America. -Julia Jones, Designing with Annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120
This outstanding hybrid blooms from spring until frost and has beautifully dissected foliage. Innumerable clusters of purple blossoms cover this plant and look fantastic cascading over the edges of a hanging basket. Verbenas are excellent for annual borders, containers—especially hanging baskets—and for the mixed herbaceous border.
This upright, 30-inch-tall, bushy annual cloaks itself all summer in purple blossoms up to 2 inches across. But more important, it is the forebear of scores of varieties that can be found in almost any place you can buy seeds. There's the Whirligig Series, the California Giants, the Profusion Series, the State Fair Series—the list goes on and on.
This annual series is comprised of dwarf, compact plants, 10 to 12 inches tall and half as wide. They bloom all summer with fully double blossoms, to 4 inches wide, in apricot, ivory, red, yellow, pink, and many shades in between.
The needlelike leaves of these Profusion Series zinnas lend a soft textural feel that contrasts nicely with the glowing hot colors of the flowers. The vibrant flowers are about 2 inches in diameter, and the plants grow to just 12 to 15 inches tall and wide. Use them en masse in borders and beds, or plant them in containers. -Julia Jones, Designing with annuals, Fine Gardening issue #120
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