Half the fun of gardening is choosing what flowers to plant. It's easy to spend hours pouring over seed catalogs wistfully imagining the colorful paradise you could create if it weren't for the realities of planting seasons and planting zones. But even when you have to adhere to environmental requirements, painting your garden with annuals can give you a four-season bountiful garden that bursts with color all year long.


The annuals you select should still abide by the planting zones suggested for your geographical region, but you'll find there are warm-season annuals and cool-season annuals. Cool-season annuals are planted in the late spring or fall, and warm-season annuals are planted during the summer months. However if you live in a geographical region that has a cooler climate all-year round, your cool-season annuals can be planted at any time during the gardening season. People who garden in the north, in the higher altitudes of hills and mountains, or in the low altitudes of the cool seashore have year-round planting luxury.


Before you select your annuals, choose a color palette to paint your garden with. Similar to painting the interior of your home, your garden colors will create a mood. You can enjoy the quiet sophistication of greens and whites, or attract attention with vibrant reds and oranges. Just as annuals are divided into warm and cool seasons – annuals are categorized into warm and cool colors, with the exception of white.


White flowers can be both warm and cool. White annuals bring out the pleasantries of pastels, and creates excitement when contrasted with vibrant reds. White works with any color, and is successful planted in mass borders, selected corners, or weaved in with any annual color. If you are ever in doubt of what color to choose to coordinate with the unique hybrid annual you found in the latest seed catalog, you can be assured that white will always complement any colorful new plant.


Green is another color that works well in any palette. It's considered a cool color, but because it is naturally abundant in most surroundings and is a fundamental color of nature, greens are always welcome. Green is a neutral color of gardening, and works similar to the way that white or beige interior walls can bring out the colors of furniture, paintings and accessories. However, if you're looking for bold and daring, keep your cool neutral greens to a minimum.


Red is a hot color that immediately catches the eye. When you plant reds, they are your focal point. Purples are considered a cool color, but they are strikingly bold. Purple annuals will add depth to a garden and can make a small garden appear larger. Red annuals do a wonderful job of visually guiding visitors through the landscape.


Orange and yellow are both warm colors. There's no doubt that yellow brings your garden a sunny disposition and a cheerful smile. Orange and yellow both wake up a garden without creating the striking statements that red and dark purples naturally do. Yellow is similar to green in that it can be the neutral force that carries other colors. However, contrary to purple, orange can make a garden appear smaller.


Blues are a beautiful cool-colored annual, and, similar to purple, they can be planted to make a small garden appear larger, especially when mass-planted in a small space. Blues are traditionally relaxed, romantic flowers, but they can be quite dynamic when mixed with oranges and yellows.


Get your gardening paint brush out, wake up your garden with annual seedlings, and splurge on the flower flats that that tempt you with new color. Showcase your home with window boxes of color, and treat yourself to hanging annuals that flourish indoors and out. Plant for each season, and you'll have a wave of color lasting all year long.


Annuals only live through one growing season, which gives you an opportunity to design a fresh new garden every year. Cool and calm, sunny and bright, bold and daring – annuals allow your garden to change with your home, or your moods. Of course, annuals can always be mixed with perennials and are often used in permanent landscapes. But if you are partial to enjoying the planning process of gardening, take another look at annuals. Each flower you plant will be a brushstroke towards completing a masterful garden of your own design.

Clinging and climbing vines are nature's tools to hide imperfections and improve landscapes. Vines are naturally comfortable in the country, but they are also tough city dwellers - handling the pollution and city heat that shrivel up more sensitive plants. Vines can be tolerant of drought, yet bask in a poolside environment.



Vines can be used for improving your lawn and garden, and for improving the imperfections around your home. If you have an older home with outdoor stairs built with uneven risers, use vines to disguise the uneven angles. If your mailbox post is boring and needs a little life, or if the ugliness of your utility pole is driving you crazy, plant some climbing honeysuckle vines or roses to mask the pole with color. When you don't have the means to repair the cracks extruding through your home's exterior, let vines hide the imperfections and improve your landscape. If you have buildings to hide, ivy vines are strong enough and energetic enough to cover any old building that is an eyesore to your land.


Vines are hardworking, but they soften edges. When landscaping a yard, vines added around a tree trunk gives a soft background to a surrounding raised flower garden. Vines are always welcome as borders and backgrounds in any yard, and as city-dwellers they can soften city walls and warm up city terraces.


As with most plants, vines need to be selected based on climate. Northern and southern varieties each have their own hardiness factors. Many vines are easy to take care of, but flowering ones may need to be maintained. Honeysuckle vines and rose vines are prime examples. Ample support is also needed for wisteria and clematis, whereas ivies and creepers do well on their own. What works well for your mailbox or home siding may not be practical when covering an old shed or barn out yonder.



Your outdoor imperfections and harsh landscaping lines can be improved by planting a few simple vines in just the right places. Take a look at your yard, and notice where a little clinging nature might help make some improvements. Using nature's tools might be the simple answer when the idea of using your home tools becomes a bit overwhelming. Just plant your vines, and let nature create a charming improvement to your outdoor world.