Orchard Park gardener shares tips on annuals in sun, shade

annuals along pat in Orchard Park NY
A pot of annuals on a tree stump adds color amid a sea of green in the landscape of Pat Gurney in Orchard Park. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko.
coleus Kingswood Torch at Buffalo Botanical Gardens
‘Kingswood Torch’ is one of the many varieties of coleus Pat Gurney uses in her gardens. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

There’s a lot to see in Pat Gurney’s large Orchard Park landscape, but what surprises many people when they visit during Open Gardens is her use of annuals.

Gurney uses annuals to add color to shady areas, to fill in areas when perennials are done blooming and to add height or interest in an area. She uses a lot of containers, setting them wherever they are needed.

Though she uses annuals, trees and perennials are the backbones of her wooded lot.

“I used to have a lot of daylilies, but I don’t have enough sun, so I put in hostas,” said Gurney, who is on the board of the Western New York Hosta Society. “I love hostas.” (She has slug issues, so she uses slug bait.)

Other perennials for sun that she uses include three or four types of echincea (coneflowers), crocosmia, monarda, black-eyed Susans and butterfly weed.

Some annnuals she always uses are iresine, begonias (rex, rieger and wax types), lobelia, torenia, caladiums, perilla, cleome, lysimachia, colocasia (coffee cups), gomphrena, dusty miller, cosmos and strobilanthes (Persian shield).

She also uses many coleus plants, and some of her favorites are ‘Campfire’, ‘Kong’, ‘Electric Lime’, ‘Lava Rose’, ‘Kingswood Torch’ and ‘Smallwood Drive’.

annuals in shady garden in Orchard Park NY
This shady perennial garden features hostas in shades of green, blue-green, white and chartruese. Two of the hostas and an astilbe are blooming, adding color to the garden. When those are done blooming, the small polka dot plants, which are annuals, will still add spots of color to the front of the bed. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
iresine in Orchard Park NY
That purple plant in front isn’t coleus; it’s another lovely annual called iresine. Notice the lovely bubbling rock fountain in back. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
coffee cup colocasia plants in Orchard Park NY
Coffee cup plants add interest to a patch of ferns. The coffee cup plants get their name because the leaves hold rain water. Other large colocasia plants can add height to your garden. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
wheelbarrow with annuals in Orchard Park NY
An evergreen tree centered in a patch of lawn along the driveway gets color from a wooden wheelbarrow full of annuals. The plants include coleus, begonias and sweet potato vine. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

11 Comments on “Orchard Park gardener shares tips on annuals in sun, shade

  1. Definitely one of the gardens to see this July!!
    You will not be disappointed.

  2. Hi Toni ,

    I use liquid fence as soon as the hostas come up. I also start before the snow is completely gone throwing malorganite around, especially in areas where I know they come onto the property.

  3. I live not far from Pat and Im curious as to how she keeps the deer from eating everything especially the hostas? Does she spray Deer repellent or have a dog? Deer are my biggest garden problem

  4. Hi Pat, there are so many lovely views of your landscape. I wish I could share them all! Thank you for opening up your gardens to visitors.

  5. Connie, thank you for your lovely coverage! You took some great pictures, and I enjoyed visiting with you.

  6. Lovely garden and the use of the annuals! Makes me want to get out and do something… soon I hope. I like the rock bubbler!

  7. Pat’s gardens are beautiful. Your photos show the great variety of colors that she has incorporated in her plantings. I will have to make a plan to visit next summer!

  8. Pat’s Gardens are lovely, I try to get there every year!

    She is a lovely person as well 💞

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