Stromanthe sanguinea ‘Tricolor’ (Triostar) has been a popular summer annual for me. (For past posts and photos go here, here, and here.) Originating in Brazil, Honduras and Costa Rica, this plant is a member of the Marantaceae (Maranta) family, and like all of its cousins, craves high humidity. In the past, I have planted it in my shade garden, but with the new design the portions allotted to annuals have too much sun exposure and the Stromanthe’s leaves might get a bit crispy around the edges. Besides its root system is so deep and vigorous, removing it on my own has required many sharp tools, savage brutality, and multiple cuss words. And if you’re wondering why I just don’t leave it in hopes of it returning the following summer, it’s because it won’t. But as a container summer annual, it can’t be more perfect.
What survived in one of the hottest summers on record. Take one last look at the current setup of my front shade garden, because this fall or early next spring it will be expanded. Due to climate change and the growing tree canopies, what worked ten years ago has either died back or outgrown its location. I will be extending the beds, replacing most of the grass lawn, transplanting a few perennials, and adding perennials that will survive Dallas’ more frequent climate extremes. Once complete, I hope not to depend on seasonal annuals to fill in the voids as much as I have these past ten years.
If you’re wondering how often I run the sprinkler system, the answer would be twice a week. Instead, I hand water every evening, which is a real pain and has not been fun, but this is — hands down — the most efficient way to water annuals. Next year, once the re-design has been completed, a soaker hose system will be implemented, because I want my life back.
Except for the caladiums, all summer annuals have been planted. I wanted to wait another week before planting the bulbs, because they have a much shorter life span than the other annuals. I take photos at the beginning and at the end of each season to keep as a record of the placement, size, and quantity of my seasonal choices. So keep in mind while viewing the photos in this post, that you are looking at plants that have yet to grow to their full potential, and those unsightly bare spots will soon fill in.
Summer annuals for the front shade garden. Most of what’s on my list are now available at the local nurseries, and I wasted no time in snapping them up. Waiting for absolutely every thing to be available before buying is a big mistake in my opinion. The longer plants sit around the nursery crammed in their original shipping flats, the more scraggy and picked over they become. For the most part I buy complete flats, because there’s usually a discount once you exceed a minimum quantity. And I don’t search out the cheapest deal in order to save a few dollars. Those deals may or may not exist in nurseries that take considerable time and gas to get to. That’s crazy and just not worth it. So most of my annuals are found at Nicholson-Hardie, and a few are found at Jackson Home & Garden. I prefer to buy from nurseries who stock plants produced by local growers. When a plant has been cultivated in your hometown’s soil and climate, there’s a better chance of success.