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17 September 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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2 - Plant types
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From the Latin annus, meaning 'year' - and that's how long these plants take to grow from seed, flower, have sex, make more seed and die. Annuals are great for creating instant effects. There are two types:
California poppyHardy annuals
Hardy-annuals such as corncockle love-in-a-mist and nasturtium can withstand the cold, so you sow them outdoors in spring: March or April. There's less work involved in raising them than with half-hardy annuals.
NicotianaHalf-hardy annuals
Half-hardy annuals such as cosmos, petunia and salvia die if exposed to the cold, so they can't go into the garden until after the last frost. Sow indoors in spring. They'll keep going until killed by the first autumn frost.
Latin again - this time 'biennis' means 'two years', so no prizes for guessing that biennials flower not in the year they are sown but the following one. But, because these days we all want instant gratification, biennials are not widely grown. A familiar biennial is foxglove, more unusual is Echium wildpretii.
Some plants grown as biennials are, botanically speaking, short-lived perennials, for example, sweet william and wallflower. They tend to be dug up after flowering simply because they don't perform well the following year, or become untidy.

2. Understand plants

Plant types
 Annuals and biennials
 Perennials and bedding plants
 Woody plants
 Evergreen and deciduous plants
Plant names
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