Perennial and annual plants offer gardeners a way to experiment with color and texture throughout the landscape. Pick flowers for their ease of care, beauty, fragrance and accessibility. Use annuals because of their inexpensive prices as fillers for pots and around the more expensive perennials. Pick perennials as permanent fixtures in the garden.
Choose petunias for their numerous and colorful blossoms. These annuals offer gardeners masses of fragrant blooms during the late spring, summer and fall. They come in many colors including, but not limited to, purple, red, pink, white and pinwheel pattered with these shades. Some petunias, especially the older varieties, are fragrant and a few even grow in a vine-like manner. Petunias grow best in full sun and well-drained, moist soils rich in organic matter. Deadheading spent blossoms promotes further bloom flushes and a bushier growth habit.
Try planting Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) for its finely cut, feathery foliage that complements its spiky pom-pom blossoms. Bloom colors include white, blue, purple, magenta, mauve and pink. This plant thrives in full sun when put in light textured, well-drained soils. Nigella damascena grows 24 to 36 inches high with a spread of 12 or more inches. Love-in-a-mist self sows freely if allowed to go to seed. This plant is difficult to transplant. Use dried seed heads in flower arrangements or for sale at farmers markets.
Often overlooked as a landscaping shrub, serissa (Serissa foetida) makes a statement when in or out of bloom. Small star-like blossoms in white or shades of pink grace thin limbs surrounded by delicate-looking foliage. Serissa has a variegated form as well. One reason to consider serissa for the garden is its ease of care when properly placed and established. This plant does best in well-drained soils with plenty of compost and deep watering when the soil begins to dry. Once established, serissa is drought-tolerant if given a few inches of mulch. Provide excellent drainage or the plant will die off during the winter.