Annuals-A Garden Book Review


Plants in pots are like animals in a zoo–they’re totally dependent on their keepers.  ~John Van de Water


For the last two years I have been growing some basic annual flowers from seed; snapdragons, pansies, violas, marigolds, sunflowers, torenia, morning glory and petunias.  All of these favorites I start indoors.  Then there are the ones I sow outdoors, and hope they grow in the dry summer if I remember to water them; cleome, cosmos and zinnias.  Of course there are also the bulbs and corms of gladiolas and begonias I plant every summer.IMG_1351

Late spring I make my annual visit to the local nursery to see what catches my eye to fill my many containers.  Some years I am smitten with pinks, blues and whites.  Other years it will be bold oranges, yellows and purples.  And I love to try many types of flowers although I am partial to the many geraniums or pelargoniums and the Calibrachoa.

Looking for more ideas, I decided recently to go back through some garden books I had not picked up in years and the book I am reviewing popped right up as one I needed to revisit as it was all about annuals.  I am always looking for garden tips, new flowers to grow  and I was hoping this book would help.  I am linking in with  Holley’s Garden Book Review meme so check out other great books being reviewed.


Step-by-Step Annuals


Author: Peter Loewer
Paperback:  132 pages
Publisher: Meredith Books; Reissue edition (January 1997)
Amazon Price: $3.99 (used)






In A Few Words

This book is a chock full of information starting with the basics about annuals and the differences between hardy, half-hardy and tender annuals and ending with great resources about these wonderful plants.  There is a whole chapter devoted to designing your garden (making a plan, designing and edging with annuals, formal and informal, containers, mixing annuals and perennials) that also includes many different types of annuals I had not considered before.  I usually go for colors and miss the annual vines, fragrance annuals and foliage annuals.  Not sure why, but I intend to remedy this.IMG_0258

Another aspect of the first chapter is the garden plans for a cutting garden, tropical paradise, mailbox garden and fragrance garden…many intriguing ideas.

The second and third chapters deal with how to grow annuals from soil, light, moisture, and temperature to seed starting, transplanting, pest and disease control, deadheading, supports and drying flowers to name a few of the many sections.

The book ends with a whole host of resources:  a regional garden calendar, encyclopedia of plants, annuals by hardiness zone, an index (a must for me) and other resources for gardening with annuals.



What I Liked

IMG_0268I really adore a book that has lots of tips and information peppered throughout, and this book is chock full.  Besides all the gorgeous pictures which gave me lots of ideas, I really loved the Encyclopedia of Plants.  There are 150 annuals listed with a brief description, colors, bloom time, growth habit, hardiness and growing conditions.

I also loved the garden plans especially the fragrance garden and mailbox garden which gave me an idea to incorporate morning glories and sunflowers to my existing garden around the mailbox.  I had not considered using annuals once some annuals like clematis had faded.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

Every section really has so many wonderful tips and many are ones you would think I would have thought of like lining my wooden containers with plastic bags.  Or mixing sand into the potting mix for better drainage.  But alas I had not.   I tend to go with the tried and true and slap them into containers water and forget or hope!  Now armed with more information and ideas, I feel like the creative juices are flowing once again.



Not So Much

I wish there was a more up to date version of the book as I am sure many plants and ideas could be added. But none-the-less it is a IMG_7806treasure trove of resources and ideas that are well worth the used book price.

Also if you are not a beginner gardener or have lots of experience with many different annuals this book may not be for you, but for most gardeners I think it is a wonderful little book.

While this book is geared toward American gardens, it is still very useful in other countries for garden ideas and especially the list of plants.



Final Thoughts

IMG_1575I was not disappointed with this book as it really has given me so many ideas for plants, containers, garden plans with annuals or without.  I am seriously thinking of redoing an area near the patio as an annual fragrance garden.  I think it would be incredible to sit there in a warm summer breeze as the smells of flowers drift on the wind and entice me to breath deeply and relax.


Do you have favorite annual flowers you grow?  And speaking about annuals, summer is almost here.  That means that the Seasonal Celebrations meme is coming up June 1st.  More details are found below.  So get those post ideas ready for this next great season!





“When bright flowers bloom
Parchment crumbles, my words fade
The pen has dropped …”
–  Morpheus


Come Join Us:

Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time.  I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether summer or winter or something else.  Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting June 1st.

And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme.  What lessons have you learned this past season of spring here in the North and fall in the South.  Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.The rules are simple.  Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations.  If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts.  Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post.  Make sure to include a link with your comment.

Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (the 20th of March).  And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog.  Your post should be linked in the weekend before the equinox to give us enough time to include your post in our summary.  And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (which I still have to create).  The badges here can be used in your post.   So won’t you join in the celebration!!



Next up on the blog:  Wednesday brings another Wildflower Tale.  Then on Monday I will have another in the series, Simply The Best-Herbs.  June is almost here and that means the season will be changing again so watch for Seasonal Celebrations to start on June 1st.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my most current post now.

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