Edge a shady border with bedding begonias where their gorgeous pink, white and red blooms will add colour to your summer garden.
Annuals are a winner for every garden as there are so many to suit every situation and garden theme. Delicate and pastel, bold and bright, they make a wonderful show in the summer garden. They can be planted to match a particular colour scheme, brighten a dull spot, or fill gaps in borders and containers.
If you always plant the same annuals in your garden each summer, this is your chance to try something different with new colour combinations and daring colour schemes.
Begonia – These neat bushy plants are happy in a shady spot where they bear beautiful single or double waxy flowers in white, pink and red, and shiny bronze or green leaves.
Marigolds are the gardener’s answer to summer colour. Their long-lasting flowers come in sunshine colours of lemon and yellow, gold, orange and coppery-red, some with few petals, while others have full, rounded blooms. Tall frilly marigolds and perennial day lilies with their trumpet-shaped blooms are a good combination.
Dwarf marigolds are ideal for edging, for bedding, rockery pockets and brightening containers and hanging baskets. Marigolds are also useful for growing between vegetables, where they are a deterrent to nematodes in the soil.
Dianthus thrive in heat and rain. These charmers have green or blue-green leaves and white, pink, cherry, scarlet, strawberry or violet flowers. They are wonderful subjects for pots, or planted in clusters along pathways and in the front of borders. ‘Burgundy Lace’ and ‘Purple Lace’ have large flowers with ruffled edges that flower throughout summer. Grow dianthus in well-drained, composted soil in a sunny position.
Snap dragons also known as antirrhinum, snap dragons are a winner for gardeners with children or grandchildren. They thrive in hot spots and their flowers come in many colours, from yellow to white, red, lilac or pink. Pinch open their blooms to delight your children with their ‘dragon’ jaws!
Petunias thrive in the long hot southern African summer. Originally from Brazil, petunias thrive in a relatively dry hot spot and are available in a range of colours from pink through to purple, red and even a pink and yellow bicolour which is all the rage in fashion conscious gardens.
Salvia – Bedding salvias are deservedly popular in summer gardens because of their glorious colours, their heat-resistance, and their ability to grow in full sun or partial shade. They are eye-catching when grown in a broad sweeps of colour, massed in flowerbeds, in window boxes and in containers. Grow rich red salvias where impact is needed, and combine the more subtle coloured salvias in cream, salmon, pink, wine, lavender and purple with flowers in similar shades.
Zinnias have brightly coloured flowers of pink, yellow, gold, red and purple held on stiff stems. Flowers may be pom-pom, or have quilled or daisy-like petals in a range of heights from dwarf thumbelinas that brighten rockery pockets to tall zinnias that suit sunny borders. Look out for Zinnia angustifolia, with dainty flowers of white, gold and orange, is ideal for spilling over low walls and containers.
Verbena. Turn a patch of sunny ground alongside a driveway into a living flower carpet with water wise verbena. These free flowering annuals have pink, deep rose, violet, scarlet and purple flowers, some with a contrasting white ‘eye’. For a long-lasting show of colour, plant verbenas in pots and hanging baskets.
Alyssum is pretty in summer gardens when grown as sweetly scented carpets of white, rose, lavender and purple under taller plants, to define a path, edge a border, fill gaps in paving, and spill from pots.
Torenias are summer’s answer to the pansy. These compact growers with dainty blue, purple or pink flowers with yellow throats are suitable for edging paths, grouped in beds, in hanging baskets and window boxes. They do well in filtered shade and rich, well-drained soil.
Gazania. These heat-resistant perennials are generally grown as annuals. Gazania Gazoo ‘Red’ is striking, with large red flowers and a vigorous plant habit. Grow in full sun on banks.
Celosia. Introduce a different texture and form in a border with celosias (cockscomb). They are among the most colourful and long-lasting summer bedding plants with silky, feathery plumes of yellow, orange, pink, red or burgundy. Pink ‘Flamingo Feather’ suits pastel colour schemes. Grow tall varieties in bold groups, and dwarf kinds in containers and in the front of borders.