If you have some bare ground that you want to fill with colour quickly, cheaply and easily, then a bed of hardy annuals is the perfect option.
The bed can be any shape or size, but a sunny spot is best to get the most flowers. Weed thoroughly, then fork over the soil, treading to consolidate it, and rake to create a level surface and fine tilth. Sow from late March to May as the soil warms up (a good indicator of timing is when weeds start appearing).
Hardy annuals flower best on poor soil, so don’t add fertiliser. Easy, colourful choices include California poppies, cornflowers and pot marigolds. Seed mixes are also available. Try calendula, cornflowers, clarkia and nigella. For a wilder look, why not try creating a mini wildflower meadow.
In this Gardeners’ World clip from May 2013, Monty Don demonstrates two methods of sowing hardy annuals directly in his Writing Garden:
Get started on creating a colourful bed of hardy annuals, in just four simple steps, below.
You Will Need
- Hardy annual seed
Mark out areas for the different varieties, using sand or spray paint. Create irregular shapes for a more naturalistic effect. Within each area, mark out drills in different directions.
Sow the seed in the drills, following the instructions on the packet as to sowing depth and spacing between seeds and rows. Gently cover the seed with soil, using a hoe or rake.
Cover each row lightly with soil, using a rake, then water the seeds using a watering can with a rose to avoid displacing them. Swish the can from side to side to cover gently but evenly, watering thoroughly.