A plant that completes its life cycle in one year is known as an annual. Everyone knows this right? When I think of annuals, I think of marigolds. Most everyone has grown marigolds at least once in their lives. You purchase the seeds in spring, plant them out, enjoy the bright orange or yellow flowers all summer, then pull the plants when fall arrives. But did you know some annuals begin their life cycle in the fall and complete it the following spring? It doesn't really seem like an annual when a plant begins growing in the fall, but I assure you, these plants pictured are annuals and I thought you might like a look to see if you have some growing in your garden this time of the year. I bet many of you do, including Cameron of Defining Your Home Garden. She has quite a few lovely fall seedlings in her yard. Take a look at her post and see if you have some larkspur and poppies growing right now. I am focusing on two that I have in my garden. They are Love in a Mist and Chamomile.
The first picture shows the seedling of Nigella damascena, aka Love in a Mist. This is a favored plant in the garden. It brings a bit of green to the winter garden and come February or March this plant spreads its wings and shows us a great deal of blue, light blue, pink, and even pale white blossoms. As if that were not enough, the seed pods are SO interesting and many gardeners grow Love in a Mist just for the seedpods.
The next picture shows chamomile. I am pretty positive it is German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), and not Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) because my chamomile is an annual and the Roman type is a perennial. Thanks for your help Cosmo! This seedling will grow into a plant about two feet wide by one foot high and it will cover itself with blooms once early spring arrives. I love this plant for its filling capacity and ability to tie together all the bright and varied colors of spring time flowers such as: salvias, irises, azaleas, and the various bulbs. The bloom color is pure white with a yellow center. The flowers look very much like small daisies.
I have grown both of these annuals for over five years now and have been quite pleased with them. Once they flower they usually stay in flower for about three to four months (in my garden), then set seed and slowly fade away until the fall; where I once again have to be on the lookout for these seedlings. The seedlings come from the ample seeds the flowers leave behind when they fade away.
I have never ever collected the German Chamomile seeds but it has been a mainstay all on its own. Sometimes the chamomile finds itself growing far away from the mother plant in areas I would never have intended for it to grow. Fall is when you can either pull the plant and compost it (who would want to?), or you can transplant the plant to a better location. The German Chamomile is not picky about light; which is a lifesaver in my shady garden. It can happily grow under the pine tree, or out in the veggie garden.
The Love in a Mist reliably self seeds in the area where it is growing. I do collect the seed heads and sometimes use them in flower arranging. Most of the time though I just sprinkle the seed heads in areas I wish to have more Love in a Mist growing. Love in a Mist needs full sun in order to do well and will severely languish in the shade; as I have learned.
Do look for these annuals while you are out in the garden. If you all know of any other annuals that you might find seeding in the garden right now, please leave a comment annotating them. I have not included biennials in this posting, but there are tons of biennial seedlings you will find growing in the garden at this time. These are just a few of the biennials growing in my garden right now, and perhaps yours too: parsley, hollyhocks, and Queen Anne's Lace.
in the garden....
Thank you very much for the pink hollyhock seeds Linda! They arrived yesterday, well packaged and all intact. I look forward to seeing their pretty faces in the garden and they will become your signature plant in my garden-is that okay? I need to get them in right away too! Thanks again!!
On yesterday's Green/Gold Hosta Post we have a winner with the exact correct guess! It was Skeeter's mother who guessed our friend Delona, the Hosta Guru Lifetime (somebody!) Master Gardener. Great job and thanks for the guess. It is such a small world to learn the connections, both through blogging and through real world connections. Thanks again Skeeter's Mom!