All flowers are beautiful, but not all flowers are the same. Some flowers like pansies and tulips prefer cool weather. Others like zinnias and gladioli do better in the warm summer. Flowers like four o'clocks bloom in late afternoon, while morning glories flower in the morning only. Flowers grow on bushes and vines. Plant them from seeds, root stock or bulbs. Plan your flower bed so you have flowers blooming throughout the seasons.
Annuals live for only one season, but some annuals self-seed so prolifically that you may think the flowers are coming back year after year. Those are new plants, however, and not the original parent plants. Annuals come in a range of sizes from alyssum, which is only three to four inches high, to sunflowers growing to 12 feet high. Some commonly grown annuals include marigolds, pansies, lobelia, cosmos, zinnias, larkspur and poppies.
Biennial flowers are not found too often in home gardens. They don't flower the first year. The plant flowers the second year and then dies. Some varieties of hollyhocks are biennials, as is parsley. Parsley grown as an herb has a pretty flower that looks like Queen Anne's Lace.
Perennials do not need to be replanted every year like annuals. They bloom for a shorter time than annuals depending on the perennial and then stop flowering until the following season. Some varieties, like peonies, die back until the next year; others like camellias remain evergreen. Perennials do not bloom well, if at all, the first year. The second year they may have a few flowers. They hit their stride in year three and beyond.
Roses are perennials, but most gardeners put them in a class by themselves. Roses come in every color but true blue. The blossoms range from an inch across to five inches across. They may be unscented or strongly scented. The shape of the flower ranges from the five-petaled wild rose to cabbage roses to tea roses. Most roses are not difficult to grow if they have rich, loose, well-drained soil and at least six hours of sun a day.
Bulbs, Corms and Tubers
Bulbs have many layers of scales attached to a basal scale much like an onion. In fact, onions are bulbs. Flowering bulbs include lilies, daffodils, and dahlias. Corms are underground nodules that include all the genetic material required to grow a plant that duplicates the parent. Corms include gladiolus and ranunculus. Tubers, like corms, contain all the required genetic material, but unlike corms, tubers are alive. Potatoes are tubers, and so are begonias and dahlias.