An­nual beau­ties set to bloom

Pre­pare the ground to­day, plant to­mor­row and have great gar­den by Christ­mas

Stanthorpe Border Post - - LIFE | GRANITE BELT GARDENING - GRAN­ITE BELT GAR­DEN­ING MOR­WENNA HARSLETT

ANY­ONE who has been in Stan­thorpe’s main street re­cently will likely have no­ticed the South­ern Downs Re­gional Coun­cil gar­den­ers switch­ing the traf­fic is­land flow­ers from pan­sies to petu­nias.

This is an an­nual event, which will be re­versed in six months’ time.

Why do they do this on such a reg­u­lar sched­ule?

Well, the an­swer is sim­ple, here in the Gran­ite Belt, both pan­sies and petu­nias (and many other flow­ers be­sides) are what we call an­nu­als.

I of­ten have peo­ple ask me what ex­actly this means.

When gar­den­ers talk about an­nu­als or peren­ni­als they are usu­ally re­fer­ring to herba­ceous flow­ers.

These are dif­fer­ent from other gar­den plants, which have woody stems and are then called shrubs.

An an­nual is a plant that per­forms its en­tire life cy­cle, from seed to flower to seed again within a sin­gle grow­ing sea­son.

All leaves, stems and roots of the plant die each year and only the seed bridges the gap be­tween one gen­er­a­tion and the next.

Peren­ni­als, on the other hand, are plants that per­sist for many grow­ing sea­sons.

Gen­er­ally the top por­tion of the plant dies back each win­ter and re­grows from the same root sys­tem in the spring.

There are also some ex­am­ples of peren­ni­als that keep their leaves year round but in or­der to fit into the peren­ni­als cat­e­gory, they usu­ally do not have woody stems that re-shoot each year.

It is im­por­tant to note, par­tic­u­larly for gar­den­ers who have moved from else­where to this area, that a plant can be­have as ei­ther an an­nual or a peren­nial depend­ing lo­cal geo­graphic and cli­matic grow­ing con­di­tions.

For ex­am­ple, many forms of salvia are peren­ni­als but there are some that are not as frost hardy and will not re­turn each year.

With the rain that has re­cently fallen, lots of peo­ple will be itch­ing to get into their gar­dens and fill in the bare patches, or re­place shrubs that have been lost

With the rain that has re­cently fallen, lots of peo­ple will be itch­ing to get into their gar­dens.

— Mor­wenna Harslett

over the harsh win­ter just gone.

Herba­ceous flow­ers, both an­nual and peren­nial, are a great way to give al­most in­stant sat­is­fac­tion and can fill a gap in the gar­den for a cou­ple of years while the more struc­tural plants have time to es­tab­lish them­selves.

With the ex­plo­sive rate that herba­ceous flow­ers grow, you can pre­pare the ground to­day, plant to­mor­row and have a full flow­er­ing border by Christ­mas.

To have a spec­tac­u­lar herba­ceous border, a lit­tle plan­ning is a good idea.

Choose plants that com­pli­ment each other in size, tex­ture and colour and the bet­ter the soil, the bet­ter your dis­play will be.

Other than that, just have fun with it!

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

SPLEN­DOUR: An­nu­als are start­ing to pop up around the Gran­ite Belt.

Choose plants that com­pli­ment each other in size, tex­ture and colour.

An an­nual is a plant that per­forms its en­tire life cy­cle.

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