Blaze of Glory

Posted by & filed under Annuals, Formal Gardens.

I am in the Sensory Garden today.  It’s a nice spot – lots of pretty flowers, plenty of people walking by and most important of all, irrigation.  Having been in the Butterfly Garden recently and now here, I have had a chance to spend some time with many of the summer annuals.  I like having them visit.  They come for a while, are very colorful characters and once their charm fades, they leave.  The perfect guest.

I think some of the perennials and shrubs don’t like these annuals too much.  I heard that the camellias in particular don’t like them – but then again, camellias are an odd bunch, blooming in the winter and all.  Their personalities are so different, I guess.  The perennials and shrubs are solid, dependable plants – always there for you and reward your loyalty with a nice regular bloom.  Summer annuals are so exuberant and such characters.  I guess when you have such a short life span you want to spend your time partying.

Some of my favorites this summer have been the zinnias with their rainbow of colors.  The Raggedy Anne mix of hybrids in the Sensory Garden are spectacular.  In the Butterfly Garden the ageratum, impatiens and globe amaranth have created beautiful carpets of blue, pink and purples.  The pentas (or Egyptian starflower) are real stars for the butterflies who like to land on the beautiful white or lavender flowers and enjoy their nectar.  And of course the always unusual cat’s whiskers will grab your attention.

One of the more intriguing annuals has to be the cockscomb.  The regular species of Celosia cristata is actually a very tall annual that can reach up to six feet tall and produces a spectacular red flower that does look like a rooster’s comb.  This year, however, the gardeners opted for a dwarf variety.  It is so low that all you see is the top of the comb and not the side, so it is sort of hard to see how the name applies.  However, the top of the flower is very interesting and I have heard some people say it looks like a brain.  What a great description!  This dwarf hybrid comes in different colors like red, yellow and pink and the pink ones really do look like brains.  I’m surprised that somebody that works on those low budget horror movies or TV shows like “Dr. Madblood” hasn’t come by to steal one for a prop.  I guess it shows how good our security staff is.

Well it’s time for me to get back to the party with my colorful friends.  Come out and join us before the nectar runs dry.