Annuals: Plants or seeds?

I'm going to plant annuals for the first time in a bed that has some "issues." First of all, it has several large-ish shrubs in it (competition for water) that can't be removed yet. Secondly, it was originally mulched with 2-3 inches of stones, probably 50% of which have been removed (some dirt showing through; goal is to eventually remove all the stones). Thirdly, when the last people tired of maintaining the bed, they overplanted with English ivy, which has turned into a nightmare (much of it has been removed, but it's an ongoing battle). Finally, the bed is packed full (and I do mean FULL) of bulbs, which of course look spectacular right now, and I don't want to disrupt them. (Annuals won't be planted until the bulb flowers have gone to foliage and will need to be worked in around the foliage until it dies off.)
So, finally, the question: Do you think I would be more successful planting some seeds, e.g., Cosmos, Zinnias, Marigolds, or something, and letting them come up somewhat randomly in and around the rocks, ivy, et al? Or would I likely have better success with plants, most likely the typical Petunias, Salvia, Geraniums, etc.?
The bed has fairly good soil, 6-7 hours of sun, east side of the house (sunlight reflecting from white siding, wind protection), zone 5.
Thanks in advance for your advice!
Jo Ann
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Jo Ann,
I live in zone 5, and have never had much luck growing annuals from seed. The season is so short, that I really need the extra growth that a greenhouse grown plant has. Poking the plants in among the bulbs should work out fine. I have great luck with regular applications of Miracle Gro or any other water soluble fertilizer. If you want to try some seeds, by all means go ahead, and you can always add some greenhouse grown plants around Memorial Day.
DP
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