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Hardy Annuals

I thought this month I would look at a quick and easy way to brighten up your garden for 2022. There are an amazing group of plants often overlooked and quick to reward. These are the hardy annuals which when sown in the Spring will flower all Summer long. I have been quite overwhelmed by their beauty and resilience in my borders.


An annual is a plant that germinates, flowers, sets seed and dies within one season. Hardy means they can be sown directly into the garden and they will not be killed by the frost. It also means that the seeds can overwinter in the soil and repeat the process the following year.

10 Reliable Hardy Annuals

  1. Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll’ is a bright blue flower followed by seed heads full of seed for the following year and to share with friends.
  2. Calendula officinalis the English pot marigold usually orange but now in shades of yellow, peach and cream.
  3. Tropaeolum majus or Nasturtium is so reliable and brightly coloured, edible too!
  4. Papaver rhoeas our beloved poppy so vibrant!
  5. Eschscholzia californica (I had to check the spelling!) bright orange and some less vibrant shades too.
  6. Limnanthes douglasii or poached egg plant loved by bees and hoverflies.
  7. Echium vulgare is our native one buzzing with bees all Summer. Try ‘Blue Bedder’.
  8. Ammi majus with it’s tall lacy white flowers.
  9. Helianthus annuus our lovable sunflower, giant and smaller versions in a variety of colours now.
  10. Lathyrus odoratus or sweet pea an all time favourite climber.

Of course, there are many more but space here is scarce and all these mentioned are so reliable and easy to grow.


There are a few tricks of the trade for hardy annuals. They do not need a rich soil which would encourage weed competition and too much foliage. They need watering if the soil is dry and can be sown directly into prepared soil. If you have a bare patch sprinkle annual seeds for a riot of colour this year, do it now! If you don’t have a garden sow some in a large pot or trough in a potting compost and sand mix. They can also be started early in the greenhouse or frame.

Plant Knowledge 

Many people think annuals are bedding and vice versa but many bedding plants are in fact half hardy annuals and tender perennials which are not hardy and killed by frost. Once you gain a little knowledge about these plants you can grow them with confidence.

Cathie’s Gardening School Services 

CGS is running the Weeds, Pests and Diseases from April so come and meet me, see the garden and join in! There are also the established consultancies, garden mentoring and garden army makeovers.

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