A recent chance walk in the Conservatory Garden's English Garden, in the northwestern part of Central Park, made me think about annuals in a very different light. Annuals can be used very badly. In unironic rows at the edges of beds, for example.
And they can be used very well. See above, to illustrate the point. Bouvardia ternifolia is the bright orange flower, the purple sweet potato vine with the cut leaves is Ipomea ‘Bewitched’; the purple grass is Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum', and the lime green striped leaves are no longer Coleus, but Solenostemon ‘The Line’ or ‘Gay’s Delight’ (same thing).
Above, Perilla 'Magilla' and Melianthus major (yay, South Africa in the house!).
I was very fortunate to be walked through the garden a couple of days after my first visit, by its curator, Diane Schaub, a very patient woman who rattled off plant names as I scribbled furiously. And it is she who responsible for the plant choices and pairings.
I won't tell you more because you can read all about it, with lots more pictures (these are the leftovers), and lots more names, on Gardenista, soon.
I am looking at my own terrace with a gleam in my eye, now. That's Perilla 'Magilla' again.
Cardoons (Cynara cardunculus) and lime yellow zinnias ('Envy') are cool and silly together.
The gorgeous leaves of Tibouchina grandifolia.
And in the outer beds, where there are more shrubs and perennials, the lovely, fading flowers of oak leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia).
The annuals will come out in three weeks time. In time for bulbs to be planted. 45,000 of them.