Flowers of Cosmos 'Seashells'

Brief Glories

My title isn’t entirely true! Annuals, like the cosmos in this post, can flower for months. But here I’m thinking of the difference between annuals and perennials.

Most of my garden is made up of perennials because I rely on them coming back year after year and gradually spreading. I wouldn’t have time to grow much from seed every year, so I need plants that are long-lived and can pretty much do their own thing once they are planted.

That makes lots of sense for building up the planting of the garden. But annuals have the advantage of providing me with something new to photograph. These – such as the zinnias, cosmos and nigella I’ve grown in past years – add some variety to the images I can create. This year I’ve missed having that variety because I didn’t grow any annuals at all.

There are sometimes a few annuals and biennials that reappear from self-sown seed. The love-in-a-mist (nigella) manages to spread itself around, as do evening primroses, wild carrot (daucus) and borage (which gets everywhere if it gets a chance). This year I’ve noticed that there is a small self-sown cosmos in a border. I’ve never had them do this before, so it’s an unexpected surprise and I’ll have to wait to see what the flower will be. (Probably a pink and white ‘Candy Stripe’, since they were the most recent. You can see them here.)

Waiting for that little cosmos bud to open is making me feel that I must make time to sow some annuals next year. I’ve missed the added interest and excitement that growing something new and unfamiliar from seed brings. Hmm, now I need to look at some seed catalogues… 🙂

Flower of Cosmos 'Seashells'
Flower of Cosmos ‘Seashells’

18 thoughts on “Brief Glories

  1. This year, something grew in my garden that I did not plant. Usually I dig up anything I didn’t plant because I once let a volunteer salvia grow because of its beautiful purple flowers–only later to realize it spread everywhere and was impossible to dig up. So I dug up all these plants (that looked a bit like carrot leaves); except I missed one and it was flowering the other day–a beautiful yellow flower that looks like cosmos (maybe love-in-a-mist?)

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  2. I smiled at your comment about Love-in-a-mist spreading itself around. Even in substantial drought, my hill country friend kept seeing new blooms here and there from seeds that had taken root and flourished. Sometimes, they were in places she usually wouldn’t want them, but this year she was willing to take what she could get.

    Your post made me realize I’ve never distinguished between annuals and perennials when it comes to our native wildflowers. Some of my favorites, like our bluebonnets and basket-flowers, are annuals, while others, like the Maximilian sunflower, is a perennial. Who knew? I’ll pay more attention in the future.

    This cosmos certainly is pretty — and well named, too. It displays that conch-shell pink that’s so appealing. As always, your photos are gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you Linda! I’m glad you like the photos. 🙂
      Love-in-a-mist is very generous with its seedlings. I end up with a lot of it and have to watch that it doesn’t take over and crowd out other plants. But it is a very pretty invader, so I don’t really mind.
      I must admit, I don’t tend to think of annuals and perennials when I think of the wildflowers here. I should pay more attention to them…

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    1. It was a very pretty one. I’m looking forward to having time to browse the possibilities for seed-sowing next year. (I knew I wouldn’t have time this year because I was finishing the pond at the time.)

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  3. They look so pretty against a white background. Things in my garden can self seed in the wrong places which is a nuisance but I may look out for some more cosmos next year. Didn’t get any this time and I really like it.

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    1. They do look very delicate and the white background makes the most of that. I have lots of self-sown seedlings coming up in the wrong places – at least I can move the perennial ones. 🙂

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