Last week, I highlighted award-winning vegetables that we can grow in our gardens this summer. Now, it's the flowers' turn. The All-America Winners selections include annual flowers that you'll be seeing in garden centers in spring.
We all know carnations, or dianthus. There are annual, biennial, and perennial versions of this popular flower.
While there are many variations of flower colors in this group, the flower shape is usually carnation-like. Not any more.
The Dianthus Supra series has pink and purple flowers on one-foot-tall bushy plants. The difference is these flowers have frilly edges and mottled colors. The effect is stunning in a bed.
Another garden trend is breeding traditional perennial flowers, such as black-eyed Susan and echinacea, to bloom the first year from planting. Usually, they would bloom starting the second year.
Add penstemons to this group with the purple-colored Twizzle penstemon. It not only has beautiful flowers the first year -- hummingbirds and bees love this native, too.
Usually, these annuals live until frost, but the verbena Endurascape is a tough pink flowering plant that withstands heat, drought, and temperatures down into the teens. This is one long-lasting annual.
Finally, the Profusion zinnia series has been around for awhile. This series features low-growing, mounding zinnias with small, single flowers. A new one in the series features deep red flowers to go along with the orange, yellow, and white profusion zinnias already on the market.
So check these annual flowers out online and look for them this spring in your local garden center to include in your garden or containers.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about microgreens. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.