problems with annuals

“Why are you taking so much out of the garden when it’s looking so lush and green?” queries Ron, my non-gardener partner.

Why am I trying to remove nearly all the opium poppies (OP) and love in the mist (LITM) from the back garden? When these annuals are flowering the flowers are to die for. And the sight and sound of blissed-out bees, pollen-drunk, sensually buzzing inside the flowers, is also to die for.

Before flowering, these plants grow large and tall. Unless other plants happen to be fully established (which is unlikely given my habitual plant-shifting behaviour) they dwarf and shade and squash surrounding plants.

But the worst thing is that when they die it is at the end of spring or the beginning of summer, when the garden is already being subjected to harsh dry heat. Pulling them out then leave large areas of unmulched soil. I imagine I can hear the worms screaming in pain as the surface dries and hardens.

Forget-me-nots (FMN) and Johnny Jump Ups (JJU) are also annuals. But they are polite and considerate. They do not take up stacks of room and trample over the permanent members of the area. Forget-me-nots and Johnny Jump Ups will continue to be welcomed, nurtured, appreciated.

PS My Old Year Resolution is to make more effort to include proper botanical names in the blog. So here goes:

1. FMN = myosotis
2. LITM = nigella
3. OP = papaver
4. JJU = violas

Feedback / corrections / more precise specifications welcomed.


  1. Your photos are a reminder of our spring to come in a few short months. Love those JJU's.

  2. Good morning Catmint! I would hesitate to get them out when they are still in bloom yet, too. I lack that decisiveness that a real gardener needs. But I agree that poppies can crowd other plants. I let my poppies to seed this year. Will see what I will do in spring...

  3. Hello,

    I just love Johnny Jump Ups. I am actually on my way to the store to buy some for our winter annuals.

    I enjoy reading about your Australian garden.

  4. Yes sacrificing self sown annuals for more precious plants is sometimes a thing we must do.

  5. Hi Catmint, thanks for your visit. I love living vicariously through others' lush green gardens and yours looks a beauty!

  6. Hi Catmint, I have never grown Nigella, but I have opium poppies. They are amazing in flower, but start to get really weedy looking after they flower. I can't wait to rip them out when they get to that stage!

  7. I love the botanical names.

    I don't use nearly enough annuals in my garden. I guess maybe a good balance would be best. Funny - and very vivid image of the worms screaming in pain! I totally see it. :)

  8. I like the name for the Violas. I can't resist an Autumn tidy up either. I try not to be too ruthless but some plants do not die gracefully and, as you say, many smother plants all the plants around them.

  9. Those forget me nots are so sweet. You are most smart to remove those big annuals once they pass by to let the other plants grow. I am hoping you do not have a drought this season like you did last year. The US was good this past summer so perhaps that bodes well for you?

  10. I hear you - the 5 feet tall cosmos I planted this year took over the garden! I was planning to pull out all the little starts next spring, but thought I'd collect seeds for friends first. I had quite a few in a bucket, then an earwig crawled out of the seedhead I was picking and onto my hand. Squeal, and I dropped all those hundreds of seeds onto the ground. I'm such a wimp about bugs. And now I'll never get rid of all the seedlings! They'll come up for years . . .


Post a Comment