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Annuals and biennials

Annuals and biennials are traditionally regarded as a quick and inexpensive means of achieving color in the garden. Although short-lived, a large number of these plants flower freely over many weeks and even months. You can use this profusion of color to create infinite patterns of beddings with plants that are planted to flower in succession.
The term annual describe a plant whose entire life cycle, from germination to seed production through death, takes place within on year. Those that are able to withstand frost are known as hardy annuals. Those that are not are known as half hardy and must be raised under glass and planted out only after all danger of frost has passed.
The term biennial describe the plants that need two growing seasons to complete their life cycle. In their first season after sowing they produce leaf and root growth that they overwinter and flower in the following year.
Still warm weeks of the mid autumn are a good period for some more planting. because the ground is still warm and usually have a good humidity also. So those are the ideal condition for the new plants to develop strong roots until winter.
This thing is useful for hardy annuals which bloom in early spring like one of the following: Columbine (Aquilegia Caerulea), Crinitaria (Aster Alpinus), Leopard’s bane (Doronicum Orientale), Avens (Geum Coccineum) or Candytuft (Iberis Sempervirens). If you want to plant those kind of plants now they will be able to settle and develop a strong root system until winter. So when the snow will melt they will start growing and in the mid and late spring you will have the most beautiful flowers.
If you will plant them only in spring, the plants will develop slow because the ground is still too cold and the flowering will be delayed and even less spectacular than the ones of plants that were planted in autumn.
It is also useful to sow hardy annuals in mid autumn under a cold glass, this will also give them an early start in spring. Sow several seeds per 13 cm pot and allow all the seedlings to grow. This will produce a bushy plant fast. 

Sweet Peas

Sweet peas image

Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) is an annual climber with winged stems that produce from summer to early autumn racemes of 2-4 flagrant flowers. They are suitable for growing as a bush and for cutting. The Sweet peas have been dubbed "the queen of annuals" for their beautiful flowers, the great scent and long period of flowering.

You can choose to grow Sweet peas from seed, sown in mid-autumn in warmer climate, or in late winter or early spring for the regions with colder winters. Protect the seedlings and plants from being eaten by mice.

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magenta-snapdragon image

Antirrhinum majus, known on its common name as Snapdragon, is an easy to grow annual that makes an excellent choice for planting in beds, borders, edgings and containers but you can try to plant them in rock gardens or window gardens too, depending on their height category: tall, medium or dwarf. This flower is a real joy for children, who love to pinch the flowers and make the "dragon mouth" open and close.

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Marigold Image

Marigolds are among the easiest of annual flowers to grow in your garden, this mean that they grow for just one year, even if you are at your beginnings in gardening. They provide bright, cheerful color and are extremely easy to start from seed. Marigolds are categorized into three groups: African marigolds, French marigolds and triploid marigolds.

The African marigolds (Tagetes erecta), are tall stout plants that grow up to 90 cm. Despite its common name, the African marigold is native to Mexico and Central America that is why sometimes they are also called American marigolds. They have larger blossoms and a shorter flowering period than French marigolds. You can remove faded flowers to encourage a second flush of bloom. They are used for foreground, midborders and  background and are frost tender.

The French marigolds (Tagetes patula) are small bushy plants that are about 15-30 cm. The French marigold is also from the same region as African marigold. The flowers are up to 5 cm across and are composed of a dense arrangement of "rays" that come in yellow, orange and a unique bronze color. The French marigolds bloom continuously until cut down by frost. They are used for edging, foreground and containers and are half hardy.

The triploid marigolds are sterile hybrids obtained by crossing the French with the African species. These triploids are full-time bloomers with impressive 7.6 cm flower heads in clear warm colors of gold, yellow, red and russet.

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Impatiens Balsamina

impatiens cream flowers

Impatiens balsamina, on its common name Garden Balsam, Rose Balsam, Touch-me-not, Impatiens or Spotted snap-weed, is a species of Impatiens, an annual plant with a fast growing rate, that can reach 20-75 cm tall, with a thick, but soft stem. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant because of its attractive, showy flowers, used for mass planting, in borders, in containers or in above-ground planters or you can grow it as an indoor plant if you live in an area where is too cold to be grown outdoor.

The leaves are narrow lance-shaped, pale green, spirally arranged, with a deeply toothed margin. Its flowers are cup-shaped, semi-double or fully double, looking like camellia blossoms, produced in the leaf axils of plants. The flowers color can be red, pink, purple, cream or white and are pollinated by bees and other insects, and also by nectar-feeding birds. The flowers are followed by explosive seed capsules.

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Gomphrena Globosa

pink gomphrena image

Gomphrena globosa, on its common name Globe amaranth is a bushy annual plant found in a variety of habitats from open, sandy soils to moist woodland in Australia and Central and South America. The persistent, clover-like flowerheads are borne on upright spikes from summer to early autumn. The individual flowers are inconspicuous, but the stiff, papery bracts that form the bulk of the structure are colorful and showy. Various cultivars come in shades of pink, purple, red, orange and white.

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foxglove apricot image

Digitalis, also known as Foxglove, is a genus of about 22 species of herbaceous short-lived perennials and biennials that bears tall, dramatic spikes of tubular flowers with speckled throats that vary in color including pink, red, purple, white, and yellow. Foxglove blooms in midsummer and adds elegance to a perennial border, woodland area, or shade garden.

The perennial foxglove is known as Digitalis grandiflora or Digitalis ambigua, and flowers in early summer, producing multiple spikes of butter-yellow thimble-shaped flowers with brown to purple markings in the throats. It will repeat blossom in the fall if you deadhead it as soon as the first blooms start to fade. It can be propagated by seed or careful division in spring.

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Bellis Perennis

wild-english-daisy image

Bellis perennis, on its common name English Daisy, is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial, but grown as a biennial or annual in colder zones. The original species of this plant is a small perennial native to Europe, commonly growing in short grass, lawns, roadsides, bare ground and rocky places, bearing small daisy-like flowers in white or shades of pink, especially in bud. Actual garden cultivars are more robust and bear larger blooms, with single, semi-double or double button flowers, in colors that vary from white to yellow, pink, orange, red, salmon and ruby.

English Daisies are suitable for rock gardens, bed and borders, edging or grown in containers, for window and balcony boxes. It also makes a good ground cover. They flower from spring to early summer, but they will be in bloom all year, with sporadic flowering until frost. They like cool, moist weather, in a place with fertile soil, in full sun to partial shade.

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