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Salvia ‘Victoria Blue’

At this time of year, the perennial beds  are beginning to fade; most of the stars have done their job. I don’t see how people can survive without annuals, at least around here. But it does depend on which ones you choose. This time, I used annuals that are perennials in nearby zones, or have perennial forms, so it’s not just the usual petunias, begonias, impatiens, etc. Instead, I have agastache (pink/orange, might be the Acapulco) and salvia (‘Victoria Blue’). They bring the brightness of June and July to the September garden, and will continue to do so through frost.

Salvia, agastache, and (behind them) lobularia

Traditional annuals I love include white and violet lobularia and blue angelonia. Pollinators love the honey-scented lobularia, which quickly spread over our new stonework, and the angelonia looks just as fresh in October as it does in May.

And then there the annuals I often get from the guy who said “Friends don’t let friends buy annuals.” I guess Tony Avent (Plant Delights) doesn’t classify all the colocasia he sells as annual, though unless you make the attempt to save it in a basement or keep it growing inside, that’s what it is. This year, I have a brilliantly variegated type (above) that looks like what Avent calls White Nancy, though I actually bought it at a nursery and lost the tag. Will I save it? Maybe. I do know I can probably get it again in the spring.

Sometimes I fantasize about a mostly annual garden. In many ways, perversely enough, it’s just easier.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on September 6, 2016 at 8:02 am, in the category It’s the Plants, Darling.


  1. I must have annuals along with all the permanent or semi-permanent plants. My favorite this year is the Monrovia Catharanthus Soiree Ka-wa-i-i, the cutest little pink Vinca you ever saw. I will be saving some of that over the winter under lights in case I can’t find it again or am unable to afford to buy as much as I want. Fortunately, Salvia ‘Victoria Blue’ is perennial for me in my zone. That is an old plant I truly love.

  2. Worth remembering too that many plants technically “annual” are effectively permanent because, where happy, they self-seed. In my garden that includes Nicotiana alata, Verbena bonariensis, bronze fennel, nigella, white snapdragons, and a petunia that each season gets less colorful but much better scented.

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