Gardener’s Recipe for Planting Summer Annuals


 My Gardener’s Recipe for planting is one I follow every year:

One Part Soil

Two Parts Water

Three Parts Wishful Thinking.


I’m always thrilled to see blooms return in the spring, a mini miracle after our drought and long hot summer last year!


We planted three oakleaf hydrangeas last spring, all receiving the same amount of planting TLC, sun and water. One is thriving, one you can see in the top of the photo is struggling and one gave up the ghost.

Note to self: Add four parts wishful thinking next time ;)


I was anxious to get my window boxes planted so they can fill in and grow. They can be removed from their brackets for easy planting so I don’t have to stand and lean over on a ladder to add my summer annuals.


My potting shed windows face west so a vinyl/ polyethylene material helps them tolerate the UV rays here in the sunny South without splitting or cracking and more fade resistant than a painted wood window box. They also have a double wall design with a water reservoir so they’re one of the few things I don’t have to water everyday in the heat of the summer. They came from


I filled them with a mixture of sun-loving annuals~ angelonia and pentas. . .


The pentas will provide some additional color from the hummers and butterflies they will attract.


Along with petunias and verbena.



Pots on the back of my shed get morning sun and a reprieve from the afternoon’s rays. I filled a pair of pots on the back porch with a combination of the colorful foliage of coleus, varigated ivy and a tricolor geranium.


 I don’t have much luck with geraniums, but hope springs eternal! Coleus are easy and fast growing and will cover the spot where the geranium is if it doesn’t make it.


I was thrilled to find more “Hot” Lobelia from Monrovia this spring at Lowe’s.

This heat-tolerant variety of lobelia last year bloomed all summer long last year.


And I found a new-to-me flowering tree to plant this year~ Duranta.


Duranta is a tropical plant and hardy in zones 8 – 11.  I planted it as annual to enjoy the pretty purple blooms until frost. You can read more about growing Duranta, here.


I added some calibrachoa or million bells and asparagus fern to fill in and spill over the edge of the barrel.


 After seeing these floriferous Knock Out Roses last year,

I had to plant a shrub!


They’re fast-growing, long-blooming and drought tolerant. . .

no wishful thinking required ;)


The winner of my Flowers and Garden Giveaway is Sandi Allen.


Sandi, I’ll be in touch with you by email and get your garden goodies to you.

Thanks to all who entered!


How does your garden grow…do you have a gardener’s recipe?

Gardener’s Recipe sign / Primitives by Kathy


Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

 Metamorphosis Monday

  30 comments for “Gardener’s Recipe for Planting Summer Annuals

  1. April 29, 2016 at 7:16 am


  2. April 29, 2016 at 7:23 am

    All are beautiful choices. Looks like you are having fun with the colors… xox P.S. I had two hydrangea and both died. ugh

  3. Ellen Stillabower
    April 29, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Congratulations to Sandi that stainless pot!! Doing some planting today but everything else waits until after Mother’s Day?.should be safe, safe weather wise around her!! Beautiful them all!! 🌼🌸🌺

  4. Jean
    April 29, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures and ideas!

  5. Sue
    April 29, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Everything looks so pretty. Love that Duranta!!!! I have never seen that tree. Hope to find one here in Lexington!! Have a great weekend.xoxo

  6. April 29, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Love all your annuals. I like that Duranta, not sure they’d even stock it in my zone 6b-7a. I’ll be planting containers and annual beds in another few weeks, but my pansies are still doing great.

  7. April 29, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Love the garden sign…I need to add 4 parts of crossing your fingers….as I did this year and I have hydrangeas buds!!!! I think it was the crossing of my toes that did it!….Gorgeous flowers everywhere Mary!…love the window boxes filled with happy flowers for the hummers and butterflies and love that flowering tree!…I used to have 2 Lantana trees in Florida..they were awesome, but have not been able to find one here…..Have a great weekend and congrats to the winner!!!

  8. April 29, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Love your recipe for gardening Mary, I need to readjust my proportions because I tend to rely on too much wishful thinking…I need to add a pinch of Bloom Burst! Your flower boxes look beautiful, I love the way you mix a variety of plants. The duranta is so fun and different I would love to have one. We planted a satsuma orange and some kind of lime bush, and are patiently waiting for some fruit for margaritas!

  9. Lynn Schantz
    April 29, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Love all of the color combinations. We still have a few weeks before any planting here.

  10. April 29, 2016 at 9:28 am

    I’m loving your Duranta, Mary! What a fun,pretty addition to your yard. I really must look for the hot lobelia for some planters that I have, as it would be so pretty spilling over the edge. My hydrangeas were looking so good before the hail, but I’m hoping that one will have some blooms. Yea for Sandi in winning your generous giveaway!!

  11. Linda
    April 29, 2016 at 9:30 am

    It’s cold and rainy here in Michigan, so this made me do a happy dance :-). I feel the need for a garden center trip today just to smell the dirt and dream a little. Miracle Grow was on sale this week, so the shed is storing step one. I’m so ready!!!

  12. April 29, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Mary, Even though you have me chuckling over your sign I am sorry that your hydrangea gave it up! Try, try again is my gardening motto :) Every year I hold my breath to see if the peonies come out but they are growing nicely and I hope to have a record year of blooms, as long as our evening mini frosts end soon. Hydrangeas, well, it is always a surprise as to the amount of flowers we will see. I do think your window boxes will be a party site for the hummingbirds and butterflies and I’m looking forward to seeing photos! Linda

  13. Roxanne
    April 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

    My dear neighbor was a Master Gardener who helped me plant quite a few things. Every year he would come over and do a walk about with me, then utter his gardener’s blessing…”Grow, dammit!”. Sadly, he passed away last summer at age 86, but his legacy lives on in my yard. I have great luck with my geraniums. They are on my western facing porch, facing the full wrath of hot SC sun. I usually water them twice a week, and they bloom like crazy. Maybe yours don’t get enough sun or too much water???

  14. franki
    April 29, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Hope (flower planting) springs eternal!! franki

  15. Sandi Allen
    April 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

    I’m so excited to have won your Giveaway Mary! I have replied to your e-mail and sent my info.
    This is perfect as I Love gardening and working in my flower beds.
    Love that sign, as I need a lot of wishful thinking here in my flower garden!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  16. April 29, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Love the sign. I do so much wishful thinking! Your window boxes look great. I like learning about new plants.
    Congrats to Sandi. Very nice gift.

  17. April 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Your window boxes are so pretty with beautiful colors. The hummers and butterfly’s wii be enjoying them.
    Speaking of drought, as you know California has been hit very hard by the drought. I did loose some roses bushes, but for some reason everything is doing so much better than last year. We haven’t gotten much rain, so I am really surprised. My roses were spectacular and all bloomed about the same time. So now I am deadheading them.
    Hoping that you get some rain for your garden, they are always so pretty.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  18. Bette McCollister
    April 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Your lovely photography and beautiful content is my idea of a perfect way to start a day. I fill a coffee mug and settle in for a few moments of peace. I know my breathing and heart rate calms and I feel much stronger and have ease of mind to start my day. Thank you so much for your creativity and love of nature. ~Bette

  19. Paula
    April 29, 2016 at 5:35 pm


    Love those flower boxes I may need to invest in them, self watering sounds great !! All of your plants are so pretty, I can’t wait to get my as soon as we get back from Savannah !!

    Paula IN

  20. April 29, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Everything looks beautiful Mary! The nursery’s are getting lots of plants now here, we just need things to warm up a tad… Note that I did say “tad”:@) Enjoy your weekend!

  21. Cyndi Raines
    April 29, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Very pretty Mary. We in MI have a ways to go as far as planting – we have to wait until AFTER Memorial Day! Drat! I’m headed outside now to cover my azalea bush whose buds are just now starting to open! My Tulip tree is a little too tall for me to drape a sheet, so I’ll pray hard the frost doesn’t hurt those buds that are starting to open. I LONG for some good warm southern weather! Next week, we hope to get in to the 60’s, yea! Have a great weekend!

  22. donley1214
    April 29, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Congratulations Sandi!! what luck. Enjoy

  23. Julie H from Michigan
    April 30, 2016 at 3:36 am

    What a beautiful post. Loved seeing all the flower combinations you planted. I can’t wait to get started here in SE Michigan. Have to wait till end of May because we can still get frost. Have a wonderful day Mary!

  24. April 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    My gardens grow with hope and love. I live in a patio apartment with a huge fenced patio and I have all kinds of gardens and water gardens. I came over from Rattlebridge Farm. Michael is a friend of mine as well. Your gardens are stunning and I so enjoyed my visit here!

  25. April 30, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Mary, I planted a Duranta several years ago. If it freezes back, it returns the next spring. No freeze here this year, so it is already full and blooming. I think the blooms are so pertty. I like yours that is trained as a standard. I need to look for one. Mine is like a shrub. I’m busy today getting some more things in before our heat settles in. Already warming here, but we got another good rain last night. Happy Gardening!

  26. April 30, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    I’m so jealous of all you southern gals and your flowers…so gorgeous and so far ahead of us. Beatiful choices and they will look wonderful spilling out of your boxes. Love it!

  27. May 2, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Ahh, life can be beautiful without deer!

  28. May 2, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Mary, I am not familiar with a Duranta, but it is beautiful. My oak leaf hydrangea is in full bloom and it will have to be moved because it has gotten huge! I hope your puny one will survive! Coleus is a favorite of mine because of all the foliage color and texture it provides! Beautiful gardening inspiration! Happy Monday, Pam @ Everyday Living

  29. Robyn
    May 4, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Love that Duranta…will be on the hunt for one this week. I have a few more pots and pansies that need to be replaced! Thanks for the beautiful pics and inspiration!!!!

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