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Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "Earth laughs in flower," and why not, flowers are one of nature's great beauties! A bouquet of flowers can brighten a person's day. They can make a room or a table pop with color or make a hospital stay a little brighter. Flowers can make a wonderful gift or they can say to a spouse or partner "I'm sorry" or "I love you!"

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Flowers offer something for all of the senses. Their color and beauty are nature's work of art and their fragrance is a garden's perfume. Flower textures offer an interesting surface to touch, but touch the wrong type of flower and your experience may not be so pleasurable. There are even flowers that you can eat; and on a breezy day, you can enjoy the rustling sound flowers make as the wind moves through a garden.

The flower is something we can all cultivate, and having a variety of flowers can make the difference between an ordinary garden and an extraordinary one. A beautiful garden is truly something to admire!

Is your garden filled with laughter or does it look a little depressed? Perhaps all you need is a sprinkling of colorful flowers. Planting and maintaining a beautiful garden requires a little bit of knowledge and a little bit of work. Here is some basic information to help with the knowledge but it is up to you to do the work.

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Types of flowers

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Annuals: This is a species that lives its full life cycle in one season. Seeds are planted in the spring and plants sprout from them. With care, these annual plants produce flowers throughout the course of the summer months. At the end of their season, these plants yield seeds which complete their life cycle. Although annual plants last only one season, their color displays make them a worthwhile addition to your garden.FP7

Biennials: This species requires two growing seasons to complete its life cycle. During the first year the plant grows its leaves, stems, and roots. Thereafter, the plant begins a period of dormancy and remains that way during the colder months. The next spring or summer the plant produces its flowers. At the end of the life cycle the biennial produces seeds.

Perennials: This is the most popular of the flowering plant species. Perennials have a life cycle of 3+ years and will most likely grow in your garden year after year. Perennials, if maintained and fed tend to be heavy bloomers.

Bulbs: You've probably heard the phrase "The best gifts come in small packages," this statement can be FP8said about bulbs. They are relativity easy to grow, they do well in pots and they yield some of the most beautiful flowers. Bulbs can be divided into three groups; spring flowering, summer flowering and autumn flowering bulbs. Spring flowering bulbs should be planted at least 3 to 4 weeks prior to frost. Summer flowering bulbs should be planted in late spring, and when the summer is over and the flower in no longer in bloom, most summer bulbs should be lifted and stored for the next season. Autumn flowering bulbs should be planted in the summer.

Wild Flowers: These beautiful flowers live and grow in a state of nature without human intervention. While alluring, you should never attempt to take wildflowers from our national forests, this is illegal. Fortunately, plant dealers are increasing their offerings of wildflower seeds which were once very difficult to purchase. Growing wildflowers successfully is not difficult, but it does require knowledge of the conditions that favor their growth. Planting in cool shade is usually best, especially when surrounded by trees.

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A beautiful garden is a gift that can be passed-down from generation to generation and a living memorial to our loved-ones.

"A garden is a friend you can visit any time." -- Janet Kilburn Phillips

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