North Texas in winter has always reminded me of the pictures of Berlin after WW2. Ok, it’s not that bad but, four months of gray with a little green is somewhat disheartening for me. This is why folks plant annual or seasonal color. You can call it whatever you want but it will bring a smile to an otherwise bland landscape.
The most important thing in planting annual color is the location. Planting full sun plants in partial sun will yield only frustration. Then we come to amending the existing soil. This is where you can really blow out the budget. Know how many square feet you are dealing with. If you need to raise the level of the bed know by how much. Soil amendments include compost, expanded shale, peat moss, molasses, fertilizer and you get the idea. By the way, you can get all of this at Wells Brothers. If you need to raise the level of the bed I recommend top soil. Most top soil is a sand and compost mix. Compost will work but since it’s still decomposing, you can have substantial drops in bed level. The Living Earth top soil Wells Brothers sells is about 70% sand and has very little shrinkage.
Now it is decision time. Pick plants that you like and types that will work in the environment you have planned. Once planted, fertilized, mulched and watered enjoy the view. Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, pill bugs and the pesky rabbits. It is very frustrating that after spending $100.00 and 5 hours of labor, then overnight, you have a bed of stems, complements of the rabbits. I would suggest a proactive approach to rabbits. If you have rabbits in the area, invest about $30.00 in fox urine and applicators. A good pair of dishwashing gloves is also a sound investment. Fox urine is poured into an applicator (a cotton ball in a plastic bottle with holes in it). With the cotton ball soaked, place the applicators about 10 feet apart. The smell of fox urine will last several hours to us humans but for the urban wildlife it will last about a month. Then, just refill the applicators.
To read more about planting and maintaining annual color, please click here.