Superfast borders
Amateur Gardening|May 15, 2021
It’s not too late to sow a mix of annuals that will provide a cheering block of colour well into the autumn months, says Hazel Sillver, as she reveals the best seeds to sow now
Hazel Sillver

PLENTY of annuals can still be sown in May, and when mixed en masse they create a striking sea of colour that will bloom into autumn. Sowing an annual border is a fun, easy and inexpensive task, because all you need is a few packs of seed and a patch of bare ground. In a few weeks’ time, it will be a carpet of flowers, blazing in the sun and buzzing with wildlife.

The effect of an annual border is a meadow-like charm that appeals to both adults and children alike. Indeed, being only an hour’s job of soil prep and sowing, this is a great project to enjoy with children.

Decide on the look of your annual border and select the seed accordingly. For instance, to create a modern, sophisticated feel, you might opt for dark flowers (such as Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ and Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape’) among a mix of purples and oranges (such as Salvia viridis ‘Marble Arch Blue’ and Cosmos bipinnatus Bright Lights); or an elegant selection of white blooms, with Orlaya grandiflora and Nigella papillosa ‘African Bride’ being excellent choices.

For a cottage-garden mood, use traditional, informal flowers, such as the cow-parsley-like Ammi majus, toadflax (Linaria maroccana), cornflowers and larkspur. For an exotic border, choose lime Bupleurum rotundifolium, red Linum grandiflorum var. rubrum, tobacco plants and colourful zinnias. If children are helping to create the border, add wildlife-friendly annuals, such as fiddleneck (Phacelia tanacetifolia), and borage, nasturtiums and calendula (which have easy-to-handle seeds).

Ready-blended mixes

Alternatively, let a supplier do the choosing for you. Pictorial Meadows ( pictorialmeadows.co.uk) supplies an excellent range of 14 different annual seed mixes (including golden Sundance, and decadent purple and red Velvet), all designed to flower over a long period in normal fertility soil.

Whether you buy a ready-blended mix or create your own, get sowing now to enjoy the floriferous bounty of an annual border. By July, it will be an impressive lake of colour that belies the hour of sowing involved!

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