Annuals, Be Gone!

As an obsessive gardener, I have come to the conclusion that annuals are a waste of time and have not planted a single one this year.  They are simply too much work for short-term pleasure.  My epiphany came last summer when I planted a huge bed of sunflowers from seed.  I babied them and they looked great for about a week before the squirrels and rats got to them.  What a disaster.

That was it.  Now I only plant perennials:  Siberian iris, day lillies, hosta, sedum, grasses, etc.  Yes, you eventually have to divide them and they may not give you a full range of colors, but so what?  At least you know you’re getting several years bang for your buck.

So impatiens, marigolds and others of their ilk are no longer welcome in my yard.  I have planted them in the past only to see them wither and die come fall.  They are officially banished.  (Well, there are some in large pots that my wife has appropriated, but that’s another story.)

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  • My God, Phil, you’re the most visible TV journalist in Chicago. Can’t you bring yourself to write about anything heavier than gardening?

    For instance:

  • Vivana

    Any pics to show-off your abilities?


  • JT

    David Murray is an idiot.

  • Krys

    I’m moving in your direction, Phil. The care and feeding of the large annual beds at my condo are getting to be a real pain. (Actually, getting people to agree on what to plant is the first pain of the season!)

  • Janet Ferguson

    Don’t forget the perennial herbs and other ‘native’ perennials and biennials — loved by bees (even tiny ones) and butterflies! They are garden stalwarts. I suggust you try catmint, rose campion, thyme, winter savory, monarda, garden sage (not the fancy ones that won’t survive winter), purple coneflower and others. Once established you will love them, never have to do much except remove the occasional weed early in the season, and won’t have to water much. Also try French Tarragon a reliably hardy plant that provides a tart-lemony leaf which you can wash, roll lengthwise, cut thinkly lengthwise and use in wraps, soups, and salads! Or just munch for a wake-me-up!

  • Janet Ferguson


  • Janet Ferguson

    French Tarragon is a great herb, but unfortunately I disconnected the right name from the herb I had in “mind.”

    Sorrel is the herb I was thinking about — that’s the one with the tart lemony leaf that is delicious fresh.