A flowering annual is a plant that completes its life cycle from seed sowing to seed setting and then dies naturally within the growing season. Some may winter over in milder climates and could be considered biennial or even perennial.

When planting, follow the seed packet directions for planting, ie, how to space, how tall they will grow, how much sun or shade needed for hardiness of each. Most annuals are great for borders or free-standing flower beds. Some are good choices for special areas and uses.

Check the the zone in which you live to choose the best annuals suited for your climate. It's always best to plant the ones that will give you the longest enjoyment.

Perennials are plants that reappear year after year without reseeding or replanting. They also combine well with annuals in terms of color and growth habits. The best of all flower gardens is the use of unchanging perennials, brightened with annuals changed each year for contrast.

Some perennials multiply and grow with each year, these call for dividing them every few years to keep them healthy.

All perennials are very low maintenance plants.

There are perennials that grow in sunny or shaded locations, and even some that like to be planted near a pool or some other water area.

All perennials, like annuals, need good soil drainage in order to breathe. Heavy soil should be aerated and organic material added. Good organic materials such as peat moss, compost, leaf mold are good. So is perlite, vermiculite and course sand.

The addition of these materials will help drainage and much needed air circulation in the soil and help your plants to thrive.

Many plants will be in bloom when you buy them, especially the flowering annuals, so you will be able to tell the color you will have in your garden. Whether you buy in packs, flats or individual pots, be sure to choose plants that are dark green, vigorous and short. Let the plants develop there height in your garden.

When making your selections, especially flowering annuals, remember that the best displays are produced when one type and color of a plant are massed together.

Plants in individual containers should be lifted out, keeping the soil ball intact to avoid root damage. Plant in the hole deep enough to get the root ball below the soil line. Individual peat pots should be planted pot and all, but slightly below the soil line to prevent the pot from drying out.

In peat type containers, flats or trays, gently separate one plant from the other, keeping as much soil as possible around the roots each plant.

If you cannot plant bedding plants in your garden the same day you buy them, water the pots, flats, trays,etc. thoroughly and put them in the shade outside to avoid wilting. Always water again thoroughly right after planting.