More Annuals for 2013

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.


Although we are out on a beautiful island, my husband Michael and I do like to explore the mainland when we are in Maine. Not surprisingly we visit a lot of nurseries and gardens. On a recent excursion to Yarmouth, Maine, we discovered the Rosemont Market and Bakery on Main Street. This market sells all kinds of wonderful fresh and local foods, including meat and fish, delicious bread, fruits and vegetables, deli and gourmet items, sandwiches and soup, and beer and wine. They even deliver weekdays to the Casco Bay islands and have additional locations in Portland.


It was a cold day (that seems unbelievable now with the heat wave we are having) so we decided to have hot soup, which was delicious. We ate at the tables outside so that I could admire and photograph the spectacular window boxes. They were planted using the techniques I described in my last post (to read it click here, if you read this post when it had small, fuzzy photos, you might want to look again because I fixed them). The boxes are crammed with plants chosen to spill out the front, fill the middle, and provide some height in the back but not too much due to the windows.



But what I really love about these containers is the creative use of colors and plant material. Nontraditional color combinations like pink and orange abound, but they work. The plants are chosen not just for the color but also for their habit and texture. The designer clearly did not feel limited by the traditional group of annuals but cast a wide net for plants that would combine to create a striking whole. I hope you will incorporate some of these ideas into your own containers—I know I will. If you have already planted them stuff some more plants in.










Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed and will reopen in the fall around September 15. Have a great summer.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

41 Responses to “More Annuals for 2013”

  1. Who doesn’t enjoy a hearty display of annuals, especially in the context of some great or historic architecture… it really says high summer to me! Speaking of high summer, we are in the low 90’s with extremely high dew points. I’m trying to complete preparations for the “Country Gardens’ photo shoot on Saturday, but shoveling mulch is taking a toll in this heat. I’m anticipating many perennials going over with the extreme tempst, but it should bring the daylilies on strong and hopefully the orienpet lilies.
    Trust you are having a wonderful summer… Larry

    • Larry, Great to hear from you. I am on an island off the coast of Maine and it’s over 90 degrees here. The same in Philadelphia where my husband is. I guess everyone is getting the same high temperatures. Worrisome. Summer is wonderful otherwise. Good luck with the photo shoot. Carolyn

  2. Oh my word! So much colour and such a variety of flowers – some I would think wouldn’t go together – but they do!! There are times you can be bold! This is one of them – really beautiful!

  3. Louise Thompson Says:

    I agree about using annuals boldly, and I also enjoy the way some folks in Maine fill their beds and boxes. But they have an advantage: the weather. The 90 degrees you were getting when you wrote that doesn’t happen often in a Maine summer, and the 85 they’re supposed to have today is something native Mainers will complain about! The yellow-flowered oxalis (I think it is) in those boxes is gorgeous; mine has long since finished blooming and is looking “tatty” even though it’s in plenty of shade. Oh, well…

    • Louise, Not sure when you were last in Maine but this is the fifth episode of weather in the high 80s and 90s this summer. You do have to choose your annuals to suit your conditions but there are plenty that love heat and go on flowering. Carolyn

  4. nwphillygardner Says:

    That Coleus with it’s rich overlays of brick red and overcooked veggie green looks like one I picked up earlier this summer called “Royal Glissade”. Because of the wet weather we’ve been having in Philadelphia, I took the risk of immediately taking 8 cuttings off the parent plant and burying them directly into the soil in a mostly shaded bed. They’re all taking off, apparently having rooted successfully.

  5. nwphillygardner Says:

    In your third & fourth photos, you show a window box with large soft orange flowers. Do you have any notion what kind of plant that is? It’s a great juxtaposition with the maroon Oxalis with yellow flowers.

  6. Yes, those window boxes are most impressive–especially from a distance! Wow, very dramatic and colorful. I like the way they just went for it and didn’t feel like everything had to be symmetrical. Gorgeous!

  7. So fun to see your recent posts. I am a native Mainer living in upstate NY. I was in Portland for a quick weekend this past weekend. I saw the Rosemont sign and smiled. I was able to see several of my family swim from Peaks to Portland. It was a great day. My love of flowers and veg gardening is inspired by so many great Mainers’ gardens.

  8. Love the flower boxes. They really did an unusual mix. Not cool here. It was 96° today and wretched humidity. I went to a garden club picnic and just melted. Glad to be home with the AC. Too bad Maine is in a heatwave. You go there to escape the heat!

  9. They are stunning and a lesson to us all, not to be so mean in the future!

  10. Wow they sure are pretty. The first two photos show off just how good they do look.

    I had no idea you went to spring fling! So glad you had a good time in SF. Bet it was fun and amazing. I’ve looked at some of the discourse on FB and found it a whole new world. I’ve never even been to Cali so it must’ve been very different from what I’m used to. Learning about that kind of gardening would be so cool.

  11. What colorful flower boxes. They will certainly cheer up all passersby.

  12. These just may be the loveliest window boxes I’ve ever seen!

  13. These are fabulous! These are like the window boxes I have in my dreams – full, lush, colorful, and with loads of variety. Unfortunately, I am a terrible container gardener, so I only have window boxes in my dreams.

  14. These window boxes are an inspiration. I love the mix of foliage especially.
    I think the main thing that holds me back from having great containers is money. It takes lots of it to stuff window boxes and hanging baskets with plants. In future, I think I will try to have fewer containers and stuff each of them more generously.

    • Jennifer, You are so right. Annuals used to be cheap and now they cost almost as much as perennials. To keep the price down, I try to buy six packs instead of bigger individual plants. I steer away from the latest designer plants which are way more expensive than their “older” counterparts. I also look for annuals that have been discounted for some reason like one out of six is missing. I also plant some of my containers a little later than usual because the annuals go on sale fairly early in the season. Another trick is to buy a basket of annuals and divide it. I often find three plants that would cost way more if purchased individually. Finally, I plant perennials in my containers. Then, when I am done I plant them in the ground. I intend to do another post on annuals and will include these tips. Carolyn

  15. Glennys Button Says:

    These pictures should be inspirational.

  16. What colorful fun window boxes…they certainly were creative and threw in all kinds of plants….

  17. Skeeter Says:

    I love window boxes although, I do not have any. While living in Germany, I saw some absolutely gorgeous window boxes. Wish I had a digital camera during those years so I could share the beauty.

  18. My latest posting is about annuals. They are such an important part of my garden. I try to grow some from seed to keep down the cost. Love the window boxes you featured! We are finally getting a break from the heat and humidity in the Poconos — hard to believe but it is jacket weather today! P. x

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