For a show of pure color, few plants can measure up to the contribution of annuals in a garden. Annual plants:
Greenhouse Activities. Volunteers can be found in January in the greenhouse — packets of seed in hand! — ready to start the germination process. During the early months of each calendar year, thousands of annuals gradually fill two greenhouses as volunteers upgrade seedlings into pots ready to be planted in mid-May.
Ideal for providing changing color from year to year in gardens, the Annual Gardens in our Botanical Gardens are easily spotted. As you approach the Visitor Center, you’ll come upon a vast area of large and smaller beds bursting with color: the annual beds! As you make your way along the pathways in this area, you may notice that the majority of these beds follow a theme. Each year a different theme is designed and carried out by members of the Green Team. Garden volunteers and Arboretum guests sometimes get into the spirit by suggesting themes for upcoming years.
AAS Display Garden. Every year the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens looks forward to receiving sample flower seeds or plugs that have been named All-America Selections based on their garden performance in tests conducted throughout the United States.
OUR AAS DISPLAY GARDEN
Many of the flowers in the other annual beds are also previous AAS winners, as noted on their identification stakes.
Annuals Theme 2022: “Games People Play”
Fittingly, this year’s theme sign was inspired by the board game Scrabble! Each little garden represents a children’s playground game, a classic board game, or a popular sport. If you’re stumped, a cheat sheet is posted on a garden stake in each bed, and the names of the flowers in the bed are printed on the back.
ANNUALS 2022: “Games People Play”
Each little garden represents a children’s playground game, a classic board game, or a popular sport. If you find yourself stumped, a cheat sheet is posted on a garden stake in each bed, and the names of the flowers in the bed are printed on the back. The games to look for are: Hopscotch, Duck Duck Goose, Ring Around the Rosie, Tic-Tac-Toe, Monopoly, Clue, Checkers, Candyland, and Battleship. You’ll also see sports featured: baseball, football, basketball, soccer, and golf. And even a video game (Minecraft) + a famous bike race.
But … flowers are, after all, the main point of our displays so we try to include a variety of colors, shapes, and textures. Annuals that are usually resilient through our Iowa summers include begonias, vinca, salvia, marigolds, and zinnias, but we also like to experiment with a few varieties that we have not planted before. Sometimes these trials are successful; other times not! New plants for this season include Sedona Sun Ornamental Peppers, Gekko Green Celosia, Snowtopia Bacopa, Lavendina Mix Dianthus, and Sonnet Mix Tall Snapdragons.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
RECENT ANNUALS THEMES
The “Tin Man” (2021)
PEONIES The peonies — special plants which come in many different colors — bloom early in the spring, around Memorial Day. Our volunteers trim them back in August.
LILIES Deer love lilies, but the DABG grounds are now protected by HIGH fences that keep the deer from eating our garden.
DAHLIAS Dahlia tubers are planted in pots in our greenhouse in March and transplanted outside in late May. Starting them indoors allows them to begin blooming in June; they continue producing flowers into the fall. Several flower styles are represented here with some growing as large as a dinnerplate!
IRISES Irises bloom in late May, around Memorial Day.
WITH APPRECIATION Creation, care, and maintenance of the Annuals and Perennials Gardens: the Green Team.