This is getting close to the in-between time for annuals. Warm season annuals that bloomed through summer will soon be getting replaced with cool season annuals that will perform through winter. Of course, our seasons are neither as distinct nor as severe as they are elsewhere. Many annuals are actually perennial here. Some stay later than they should, just because they can.

Aging annuals and perennials can get somewhat trashy if they are not pruned back or replaced soon enough. Their replacements might not be very impressive until they get established and start to grow. So far, only a few violas have been installed here for autumn, and only because the petunias that were where they are now were getting tired prematurely. There will be more.

There is certainly much more color in the landscapes than what these pictures show. White just happens to be my favorite color.

1. Alyssum is supposed to be a cool season annual for spring or autumn. It does not like cold winter weather or warm summer weather. In our mild climate though, it does well in any season. In sunny spots, it self sows to replace itself before it gets old and deteriorates. This batch will eventually get removed, just so we can put something else here. It is prettier in sunnier spots.P90831

2. Dianthus, like alyssum, is supposed to be a cool season annual. It just does not succumb to the minor summer warmth here. Nor does it succumb to the mildly cool winter weather. It could grow as a short term perennial if we did not need to remove it to plants something else later. It also would perform better with better sun exposure. Here, bloom is not as full as it should be.P90831+

3. Viola is one of the cool season annuals that does not do well through summer here. Some survived from last spring, but they were not happy about it. A few of the many might survive and regenerate if we cut them back, but it is easier to plant something new. These white violas, as well as some comparable yellow ones, got planted early to replace prematurely fading petunias.P90831++

4. Petunia is a warm season annual that did well through most of the summer, but is now fading a bit early. Some have already been replaced with violas. Others probably should be. These are still mostly presentable, so can remain for now. If possible, it is better to not replace them with violas too early. Violas that grow too much before autumn can get floppy through winter.P90831+++

5. Phlox was not planted. A single plant grew in an already crowded bed of flashy annuals and perennials two springs ago. There were a few more last year, and even more this year. They all land in good situations, where they unobtrusively grow through spring, bloom in summer, and die back through autumn. They are warm season annuals, but are expected back next spring.P90831++++

6. Geranium, which are really pelargonium, are perennial here, rather than annual like they are in climates with cooler winters. They can be damaged or even killed by frost where they are more exposed, but this particular geranium is sheltered by an eave and trees. They will probably get cut back at the end of next winter, just to stimulate fresh new growth to replace the old.P90831+++++

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

41 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: White Trash

    1. How odd. White geranium are not particularly rare. They are just less popular than others because they hold onto their flowers after they fade. (Other zonal geraniums shed their old flowers rather efficiently.) For us, only the phlox is uncommon, but most that are seen are white. The others are commonly white. Is alyssum normally yellow there? I have heard of the yellow, but never seen it.

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  1. A set of pictures like that makes a persuasive case for white flowers, my favourite might be the Phlox. I find when I’m going for a colourful effect that white tends to kill it off rather than provide contrast. The whites work best with greens or with only small amounts of other colours perhaps?

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    1. White happens to be my favorite color! Yet, I now what you mean. It does not always fit in so well. Where lived in town, and in my downtown planter box, white would not have worked at all. Bright yellows and oranges were best for both situations. Because the landscapes here are mixed with redwood forests, white happens to work quite nicely for brightening spots that are visually dark (even if not too shaded). Redwoods make for a lot of dark green and reddish brown. White also works will with the rich colors of rhododendrons. Such rich colors might be seen as too dark on their own.


    1. Thank you. Are there white alyssum there too? If so, how do they compare to the yellow? I have never seen yellow alyssum. I never bothered to grow it because there are plenty of other yellow flowers, particularly nasturtium.

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      1. So, it is a different species, and maybe a different genus. (The alyssum I know is now supposedly named ‘Lobularia maritima’.) It looks related up close, but not at a distance. It is so bright yellow! I was not aware that it is a perennial.

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    1. How odd. You are the second to say so. Thy might be uncommon there because they are not very popular. Unlike other zonal geraniums, they hold onto their deteriorating flowers, so need to be deadheaded to look neat.


    1. Surprise? Others have mentioned that they had not seen white geraniums before. I know they are less popular than the others; but I do not think of them as rare. This is my first phlox, and the only I am acquainted with. I doubt I would prefer it in another color. It really is rad.

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  2. You’ve got some great whites here, Tony. The phlox stands out and is so reliable as well. Love it. From one packet of alyssum seed I sprinkled into my 5 sweet pea pots, I have a massive jungle of the stuff. Probably the seed is dropping through deck slats onto gravel below, and I’ll be regretting not cutting them back for years to come, but for now the white cloud is amazing and so attractive to pollinators.

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    1. Thank you. Phlox is new to me, but so far, has been a bit too reliable. I am sort of concerned that it could get weedy. I doubt it will, since there are not many places for it to go. Lunaria, campion and some sort of campanula are naturalize in the same areas, but are polite about it. I got my first alyssum from a Sunset magazine in a pharmacy waiting room when I was a little kid. (I did not now how to read yet, but was looking at the pretty pictures of flowers.) The packet of wildflowers was glued inside the magazine, and the pharmacist told me to take it. The other flowers were great, and bachelor button and cosmos seeded for a second and maybe third year. The alyssum is still going more than forty years later.

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  3. I like all these whites. I planted alyssum of all colours, but it’s the white ones that are the most dominant. I’d like to have the white phlox, but don’t recall seeing it here and white Geraniums always seem to have a little touch of pink.

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    1. White alyssum has always been in my garden, so does not get planted. However, I have tried other varieties that bloomed pink, lavender, peach and purple. All eventually revert to white, which is my favorite. I have never grown yellow, and have never even seen it.
      This is my first phlox, and seems to be the most common in other gardens.
      White geranium is less popular than the others because it does not shed its old flowers, so needs to be deadheaded. Yours might be blushed from breeding with those that shed their flowers more efficiently.


    1. That is an interesting observation; because the alyssum and geranium are in front of a small chapel that is popularly used for weddings. The dianthus was originally with the alyssum. The phlox, viola


    1. It looks good close up, but there is not much more than a few small flowers to each of the small plants. The spot they are in is just too shady for them, and I can not prune the big redwood trees enough to improve the situation. Because white happens to be my favorite color, I am pleased that we have these situations where we can plant many of them. they look good with the dark green and reddish brown of the redwood forests. The geranium and alyssum are in front of a small chapel, where we want exclusively white flowers.

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