The beauty of flowers has inspired poets and landscapers worldwide. Thousands of breeds of flowers and varieties exist for nearly every climate and environment. Flowers are available for cold and hot climates, moist and dry soil and country or urban environments.
These perennials are a popular breed because of the large, colorful flowers they produce. Depending on the cultivar, peonies can be tall or compact and shrub-like. Flowers bloom each spring in colors including pink, coral, rose and even black. According to North Carolina State University, peony flower shapes include Japanese, anemone, single, semi-double and double. Peonies grow best in cool climates of full sun, but can withstand light shade. Plant them in the early fall in well-drained soil. Choose a site that will provide protection from strong winds. Mulch 2 to 3 inches around the base of the plant to retain moisture and control weeds. Stake the plant to keep it from falling under the weight of the blooms.
A member of the iris family, crocus is a perennial breed of flower. Eighty varieties of crocus are available, including sativus, the cultivar that produces the herb saffron. In winter and spring, the grass-like foliage of crocus is accompanied by goblet-shaped blooms in a range of colors including purple, yellow and white. Short stems produce up to four blooms each. Most species of crocus are resilient and tolerant of many conditions. Plant crocus in a location of sun or part shade in moist, humus soil. Crocus is a popular flower for use in rock gardens.
Asters, named from the Latin word for star, are characterized by their star-shaped flowers. Their pink, blue or white flowers appear in the late summer or fall. Depending on the cultivar, asters can reach 8 inches to 8 feet in height. Plant them in spring in well-drained soil and place a 2 to 4 inch covering of compost over the soil. Apply a new layer of compost each spring, along with a 2 inch covering of mulch. A location with full sun to light shade is best. The flowers of asters attract butterflies.
Bee balm, also known as wild bergamot, is popular for the tube-shaped flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The red, white and pink flowers, along with the leaves, can be made into tea. Depending on the cultivar, bee balm can reach 2 to 4 feet in height. This low-maintenance plant grows best in rich, well-drained soil. Some varieties can tolerate wet soil situations, even bog conditions. Prune any dead flowers to keep the plant looking neat and water the plant during summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch weekly. Apply a new layer of compost and mulch each spring.