Annual Inventory

It's the beginning of May. April's come and gone and as always has the knack of being the quickest month for me. Everything just takes off.

It seems a long time since the dark days back in early March when I started sowing large amounts of flowering annuals with thoughts of Summer and borders which are just brimful!
I 'd put out most of the young plants almost two weeks ago which in all honesty was a little premature, possibly foolhardy, but a risk I felt I should take as I'd inevitably succumbed to impatience, most of my seeds were started too early, simple as that. The ever growing juvenile plants fast approach that stage where they're 'pot' bound which simply doesn't do for any annual. Faced with either 'potting on' on a perceived industrial scale or taking a flyer with the weather the latter prevailed. Truth be known I made my decision as scientifically as I could after obsessively viewing and interpreting the synopsis charts provided by the Global Forecast system for many days ahead. Sure enough the devil's in the detail but the trend suggested no frost. I 've always had more than a sneaky regard for meteorology.

I've planted Cosmos 'Versaille tetra' which I've dotted with Amaranthus 'Marvel Bronze' plus Verbena bonariensis (a perennial I know, but treated as an annual, I took insurance cuttings last Autumn). I'm hoping they'll all make good friends. I have small plants of Cleome 'Violet Queen' which as ever were slow to germinate. I blame Cleome for my seed sowing haste as they truly benefit from big temperature fluctuations. Sown early under glass they bake on a sunny day and then the temperature drops like a stone at night.

Tobacco, I have lots of it. I love Nicotiana Sylvestris, I'm trying N. Sauvelens and a new introduction called 'Tinkerbell'.

Planted at front of La Grande Maison are Nasturtium 'Empress of India' and growing in pots are Rudbekia 'Cherry Brandy', a new one from Thompson and Morgan.

Finally, I had great plans to grow sweet peas which never materialised. Thoughts of mildew turned me against the idea as the spot where I want them just bakes. I even 'crafted' a teepee from weedy Alder which grows down by the river. The young trees make really decent tuteurs, good straight poles with the right amount of flex. I like it and am going to leave it where it is, sans sweetpeas.


  1. Cool teepee, Rob! And that head, again. It makes me nervous!

  2. Lovely picture - I like the juxtaposition of the natural-looking teepee with the classical sculpture!

    Amaranthus - it's a long time since I've grown that - does 'Marvel Bronze' have reddish-bronze leaves?

  3. Hi Rob, I had to nod in agreement with you about the starting too many, too early, they get too big and had to go outside too soon. We even have the same cosmos, cleome, amaranthus, not the same cultivars, but close enough. Empress of India was just purchased this weekend. N. sylvestris is in the ground, Tinkerbell self sows nicely in the pine straw paths so I don't bother to start it inside. La Maison is looking quite good, love the tuteur and the bust.

  4. I think I probably sowed a lot too early also. I just get so excited and then they either don't germinate or look sickly. My cosmos aren't doing much, and the seeds I direct sowed, only one came up. I'm crossing my fingers that my nicotiana sylvestris will survive. I planted it out and it doesn't look too happy.
    I love your tuteur, it's really nice and I like the natural look it has.

  5. Another Cleome lover--thank you. It's one of my favorites. Sorry about your seeds. I had about 1/4 make it. The hollyhocks did awesome as did the Cleome. Did you say your Cherry Rudbekia has sprouted? Mine hasn't yet.

  6. Still cold, wet and windy here. Good choice of plantings, I seem to like the same plants as you. Hope they all do well, those that survived the 'baby' stage. I like the head personally.

  7. It should look a riot of glorious colour soon Rob. Look forward to seeing a photo. Don't you wish sometimes that plants that you sow would stay in suspended animation until you are ready for them ? Like the tepee :)

  8. Wow, your garden will look amazing this summer with all of those flowers.

    You're way ahead of me. I just started my annuals yesterday! lol

    I love the stone building. It's beautiful. The stone is such a lovely warm color.

  9. I'm glad I'm not the only one who started annuals too early...I spent Saturday morning rushing out all the pot-bound vegetables into the garden. It's poured buckets since then. I hope they didn't drown.

    Love the photos - thanks for the variety names too on your plants - it's so interesting to see what other people are planting!

  10. Well I was going to plant out all my slightly pot bound flowers, but it's not stopped chucking it down all day - ho hum! I shouldn't have expected anything else from a British bank holiday really should I?!

    Love the teepee by the way!It looks great against La Maison. :)

  11. Interesting looking teepee ... Good Luck! ~ bangchik

  12. Hi Rob Your annual selection sounds lovely. I have not grown Amaranthus since the children were about 3/4 and have photos of them standing next to them. The Amaranthus had grown so well they were the same height. I have never seen them so big anywhere else. Cleome is something I would like to have a go with but there's always another year.
    Teepee is looking good, oh so many choices of what to grow up it, I wonder what you will choose. Will it be an annual or perenial?

  13. Hiya Rob, just a quick note to warn you about your 'crafted' teepee from weedy Alder, if newly cut, you may not end up with sweetpeas but some darn healthy alder trees, they have a habit of sprouting from sticks much like willow.
    BTW last year when Nick trimmed the wisteria for winter, I wove lassos from the cuttings and have used these for holding my teepees together. Will photograph for blog, works well!
    Great post as always, all the best F

  14. It's so interesting hearing about other seed choices and experiences.

    Funny enough, yesterday, after running around like a lunatic trying to get the houses ready, I had a quick peak at some of the 'sulky' annuals and it appears their mood has improved no end.

    I cut the Alder last Autumn so it's no longer green and as such I think I've avoided inadvertently starting a new Alder wood. I'll remember to avoid it 'green'.

  15. Rob, it sounds like your garden will be stunning when it begins to bloom! I admire the from seed approach; even bulbs seem like a big commitment to me. Looking forward to your summer garden photos.

  16. I love cosmos and couldn't imagine it being a bad neighbor.

  17. Ok, I could stay here in France!

    I love your seed selections and we'd be happy to wait around here to see your garden bloom.

    Giverny exceeded expectations! Love Paris but are flying home tonight.

    Petit dejeuner - pain au chocolate et cafe creme.

    Cameron in Paris


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