Lazy Man Needs Help With Annuals

Last year, I carved out a bit of my lawn to create some beds for perenials and annuals. With the exception of some Wave-brand petunias, none of my annuals (mostly petunias) did especially well, despite a sunny location, fertilization and watering. The same annuals did very well in pots and planters (in Miracle Grow potting soil), so it's apparent to me that my problem is my planting bed soil.
I've mulched the beds with hardwood mulch - could that be the problem (chemicals leaking from the mulch?)? Is there any way to ammend the soil without digging up the entire bed?
Your help will be appreciated.
Bob P.
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In general, annuals do not do well in wood mulched beds. I think it's partly that they usually have very small root balls that never expand very far into the surrounding soil, so that soil needs to be ''real" soil, not bits of wood, if the plant is to thrive. Perennials manage better, even if their initial growth is slow, because they root in much deeper - and at a certain point, the mulch becomes an asset, because they are not facing as much competition from weeds then, and their roots stay cooler and moister.

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