Annuals still providing color!

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Given the light frosts this past week, it was time for us to remove some of the spent annuals in the Snyder Park Gardens and Arboretum Cultivar Trials. Master Gardener Volunteers in Clark County removed the annuals as well as cut back all our peonies Wednesday.

While doing this, we couldn’t help but note those annuals that were still out-of-this-world beautiful! They were so eye-catching that visitors to the garden stopped and asked about them.

Of course, there were also a few not-so-perfect ones that we removed and put in the compost pile. We compost all plant material that comes out of the gardens except for weeds.

The rest of the annuals will remain in the ground until they look bad. That is usually after a hard frost, or in the case of some of the cold-loving annuals, a freeze.

In terms of perennials, we don’t cut anything back until it looks bad. In some instances, we will leave woody perennial stems standing through the winter to provide a habitat for overwintering native bees.

Hosta, for instance, turns to mush so we remove that. I wait until they look bad before I remove them, however. Some varieties of Hosta have a beautiful gold color and provide nice fall color.

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I believe that people close their gardens too early in the fall. I understand why – people are tired of gardening by now and are ready to put the hoses up and head indoors.

I stay in the garden until the ground freezes. There is always plenty to do.

Back to the annuals, a Celosia variety from Sakata Ornamentals, the Flamma series, was and still is simply stunning. And we haven’t deadheaded it all season. You must see it to understand the wow factor.

This Celosia is new and grows to around 10-12 inches in height and almost as wide. The flowers start blooming in mid-June and are still going strong today. Did I mention that we don’t deadhead these?

Each plant is loaded with plume-like blooms that also make great dried flowers. There is Flamma orange, golden, bright red, red, and rose. They are heat tolerant and make a great bedding or container plant.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

These plants might end up in our Springfield Foundation Feature Garden next season. This season, we have a mixture of Proven Winner plants including Scaevola whirlwind blue, Angelonia angelface blue, Sedum lemon coral, and others.

These flowers were spectacular all summer. Today the Scaevola and sedum are still going strong and will look great until we get a hard frost.

What are your best performers this season? Drop me an email and a photo at bennett.27@osu.edu of your top annuals. I would love to learn more about your favorites.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu.

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