Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Don't miss your chance to win a complete prize pack valued at nearly $200!
Community gardens aren’t just allotments — they’re urban farms, great places to share gardening skills and crops.
Keep all of your tools performing at their best.
Annuals are the most popular choice for adding a bold punch of color to a flowerbed or border because they perform all season long. They are readily available from garden centers to grocery stores and drug stores and many are easy to grow from seed.
Plants that complete their entire life cycle during one growing season are referred to as “annuals”. So, they go from seed to plant to flower, and then to seed again and finally die, all in usually just a matter of months. Classic examples of annuals include pansies, petunias and marigolds.
For the money, you get a lot of color bang for your buck with annuals. There are plants for nearly every season and plenty of colors from which to choose. Annuals are readily available and easy to care for. Annuals are not excessively demanding, especially when given their ideal growing situations. Depending on the plant, they can vary from moist well-drained soil to near desert conditions. Some routine care for annuals includes the following:
For a nutrient boost, you can add a slow release fertilizer into the soil at the time of planting. Be sure to use the appropriate amounts as specified on the package label for season long feeding. You can also apply a liquid fertilizer to your plants. These products are generally faster acting, but you will need to feed your plants more often throughout the season.
Deadheading is a term that applies to removing the spent flowers to promote new flowering. Deadheading simply requires that you remove spent blooms every few days by plucking them off the stems. It is not necessary to deadhead every annual but in many cases can lead to a healthier bushier plant. For annuals like pansies and marigolds, this extra step will reward you with season long blooms.
Tips for Buying Annuals
Fortunately for me, many happy gardeners buy up all the annuals in full bloom, the ones with the most blooms currently on display. I on the other hand, use these flowers as a guide, but proceed to purchase the plants that have yet to bloom, or are just starting to bud. These are the plants that will look great a few weeks from now in my garden, when the others may have already fizzled out. It takes a lot of energy to put out flower buds. I prefer that energy to go into making a bigger stronger root system first, rather than trying to spread plant resources in too many directions.
For the same reasons, unless I need color impact today, I’ll opt for disbudding (removing all the current flowers and buds) an annual in full bloom.
Next, I check for pest damage. The last thing I want to do is bring more home! Be sure to look all around the plants, especially under the leaves where most pests like to hide. Look for signs of discolored leaves, ones that look like they’ve been chewed on, or have holes. These plants are likely hosts for any number of pests. Bring these plants home, and you’ve just unwittingly invited a whole host of other problems.
As I inspect the leaves, I’m also looking for disease problems. Again a discolored, or spotted leaf is a good sign of problems. It may be that the plant has simply had too little or too much water, or light. However, disease symptoms can show the same signs. Assuming I have a choice of which plants I’m buying, and I usually do, the plants that show stress don’t come home with me. Although it may be a very correctable problem, why take the chance when choices abound.
The next inspection point comes with the general form of the plant. Is it short and stocky or full looking? Or, is it tall and leggy, kind of gangly? I want the compact plant.
Lastly, how do the roots look? They should be firm and white, not brown and mushy. Are they fully developed, without being root bound? Root bound plants can become stunted, and without some help from you at planting time, may never break the cycle. The plant will simply languish at best.
This sounds like a tough regime for little annuals to pass the test, and I admit, most of these problems are correctable with some knowledge. But I say, if you’re spending good money, then being a bit more selective at the point of purchase will pay big dividends in your garden, later on.