By Jeff Ray

Do you have large blank spots in your landscape thanks to the devastating arctic blast of last February? Over the years I have filled in all corners of my yard with perennial flowers, shrubs and vines placed in and around an edible landscape.

But I lost or had to severely cut back a lot of plants this spring and start from scratch in some areas.

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To help fill the void I used a larger-than-normal display of annual flowers. I’ll be slowly introducing my more traditional preferences over the growing season and next fall.

I gravitate toward low-maintenance, drought resistant selections. Since that is a slow maturation, I utilized a broad stroke of color to fill up the holes left in my garden from the hard freeze.

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I normally wouldn’t be so adamant to cover up my areas of exposed beds with annuals, they are a little bit of a water hog. But we are hosting a large graduation party at the end of May and felt a little more pressure to put as much “show” into my yard as I was willing to shell out for.

The beauty is that I’ll enjoy this beauty all summer long as we enjoy the pool. That is if I’m willing to spend the water. Almost all annuals require a good 1” of water per week in the hot season.

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This is the second part of a series on summer annuals I did with Steve Huddleston of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. This episode includes the great summer native Lantana and a newer breed variety called “Hardy Gold”. It also includes some plant options for the shade. Colorful leaves and shapes can be just as appealing as bright flowers.