Annuals have a drastic strategy for coping with cold winters: they sprout, flower, set seeds and die in a single summer and avoid winter completely. They are ideal if you want colourful flowers all summer. When buying seedlings, look for compact, bushy seedlings that haven't begun to flower - they will survive transplanting better. Examples include snapdragons, some marigolds, periwinkle, begonia, cosmos, sweet william, alyssum, sunflower, stocks, poppies, petunias, african marigold, pansies and Zinnia.



Even though many bloom for only a few weeks, perennials save work by coming up year after year. If you choose the right ones, you can have colour all season long. Although any plant that lives 2 years or more is a perennial (including trees), gardeners use it to refer to long-lived plants with green stems. Examples include yarrow, anemone, asters, geraniums, blue flax, campion, evening primrose, phlox and verbenas.

Ground Covers

If you feel a lawn is too much hassle, there are a few easy-care alternatives. These low growing, spreading perennials won't take as much trampling as grass, but some tolerate light traffic.

Flowering shrubs

These are seen in all their glory in spring or summer, and then settle down as green backdrops for other plants. In Autumn, many product showy berries. Shrubs can be bought already in containers but most often are wrapped in plastic or hessian with a ball of roots and soil. When buying, make sure your shrub is evenly bushy without too many crossing branches.

If you buy shrubs in a dormant state, transplant them before many leaves appear to else they may die of transplant shock. Examples are the camellia, flowering quince, wild lilac, bougainvillea, fuchsia, forsythia, hibiscus, hydrangea, winter jasmine, gardenia, english lavender, honeysuckle, oleander, rhododendron and doublefile viburnum.

BougainvilleaForsythiaFuchsiaWild Ibis