Easy Annual Gardens with Punch

Create eye-catching gardens with just two or three varieties.


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Annual Blue Shade
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Dusty Miller and Petunias

    Set off dark blue and hot pink petunias with the silvery velvet foliage of dusty miller. This easy annual bed tolerates light shade, especially in the South, but will do best in sunshine in cooler climes.

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Zinnia, Vinca, and Annual Sage

    This garden features white narrow-leaf zinnia (Zinnia angustifolia), pink annual vinca, and medium blue annual mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea). These tough plants require almost no maintenance and can withstand dry conditions once established.

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Celosia and Ageratum

    Golden plumes of celosia are a stunning foil to the rich blue of the ageratum, or flossflower. As an option, you could add a smattering of deep pink annual vinca. This is another good combination for a hot, dry, sunny spot.

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Celosia and Salvia

    This combination of red-leaved plumed celosia and bicolor (white and blue) mealycup salvia (Salvia farinacea) offers a bit more sophistication than would the more mundane versions of these popular annuals. Sunshine (or a bit of light shade) and a drink of water during dry spells is all this garden asks.

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Geranium and Petunia

    Bring hot and cold running color to your garden with this high-contrast combination. Silvery blue petunias and cherry red geraniums make this garden at home in beds and containers. Choose a trailing variety of petunia to add extra interest to a large pot planting. Although blooming will be best in sun, these plants will put up with some shade.

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Marigolds and Begonias

    Begonias are usually best in shade, but the red-leaved varieties can take a bit more sun. That's the secret behind this pairing of a pink-flowered wax begonia with a sun-loving lemon yellow French marigold. These two low-growing annuals will provide a carpet of nonstop color all season long. Keep the bed well watered, particularly in hot areas.

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Marigolds and Annual Red Sage

    Primrose yellow French marigolds and fire-engine red annual sage (Salvia spendens) create a drought-resistant flowerbed with enough power to light up any yard. Plant this combination in a sunny spot.

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Dusty Miller, Ageratum, and Annual Vinca

    Dusty miller's silvery foliage makes it a perfect contrast for almost any blooming partner. Here it's teamed up with the cool blue of ageratum (flossflower) and the heat of carmine and white annual vincas. The shiny foliage of the vinca looks great next to the velvet-textured dusty miller even when the vinca isn't blooming its heart out. Light shade or sunshine suits this garden bed.

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Annual Vinca and Petunia

    Here's a subdued combination that will be at home in light shade or full sun. Shell pink petunias and bright white annual vinca will provide season-long color, provided the bed is kept watered during extended periods without rain.

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