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How to create a bed of hardy annuals

Discover how to make a colour-packed bed of hardy annuals with just some sand, seeds and a rake.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

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.

Get started on creating a colourful bed of hardy annuals, in just four simple steps, below.

You will need

Hardy annual seeds

Rake

Sand

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Step 1

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.

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Step 2

Sow the seed in the drills, following the instructions on the packet as to sowing depth and spacing between seeds and rows. 

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Step 3

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.

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Step 4

Protect the seedlings from pests and thin them out if necessary. Weed between the rows and water frequently in dry weather. Keep deadheading to prolong flowering.

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