Every spring I plan on planting more annuals and every summer I fall short of the desired effect. At least this year I have an excuse: after clearing up the shrubbery from a large portion of the front yard, the design of a new perennial border became a priority.

There seems to be a quiet understanding among the plants that every year a precious few will get to shine while the others considerately fade into the background. It's not something you learn from gardening books, the garden teaches the gardener a thing or two over the years.

This summer was all about petunias, last year I couldn't dig myself out of lantanas, a couple of years ago the marigolds were everywhere. You can sort of guess which annuals are going to run the show that year by observing the tables at the plant nursery in spring, but there is no way to tell a year in advance. It works for vegetables too, for instance this season I've got nothing but eggplant and basil. Not even parsley, no ma'm.

If we were talking about perennial plants, one could bring up the argument that the plants need to have a year of rest every now and then, and they take turns to do that, but that is certainly not the case for annuals.

I guess nature works at a higher level where this staggered pattern makes sense. It keeps the balance and variety of plant life by allowing it to skip years at a time while it runs the thread of genetic continuity above and below ground with the artistry of a master embroider making a millefleur tapestry.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.