Annuals with Style
Annuals provide an opportunity to experiment in the garden. If you don't like the results, you can try other plants. Annuals With Style: Design Ideas from Classic to Cutting Edge, by Michael A. Ruggiero and Thomas Christoper (Taunton Press, 2002: $19.95) provides lots of useful information. It's divided into three parts: garden design, making plants grow, and an illustrated guide to many common annuals.
The design section details the process of selecting plants for color and location in the garden. The second section provides general information on keeping plants well fed and well watered. The last section has color photos of the more commonly grown annuals, along with their cultural requirements, to help you choose just the right look for your annual garden.
Favorite or New Plant
Most daisies are ridiculously easy to grow. Select a sunny spot, scratch up a patch of soil, sprinkle out a packet of seeds, and presto! Instant garden! They show up right away and nearly all of them flourish in ordinary garden soil with minimal care.
My favorite is golden marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria). It's a dainty daisy that never quits, flowering from late spring right through the first light frost. The cultivar 'Kelwayi' has flowers of bright gold, while those of 'Moonlight' are a pale sulfur-yellow. 'Wargrave', at 30 feet tall, carries its creamy yellow flowers higher than most, and 'E.C. Buxton' is a graceful plant splashed with ivory-white daisies.
Golden marguerite doesn't need pampering; give it full sun and lean soil. It will become a delightful mound, 3 feet high and wide, but can be kept compact with judicious season-long pinching.