Make your garden smile

Flowers. Nothing makes a garden smile like a blooming flowerbed. Be it annuals, perennials, shrubs or trees, the pinnacle of a plant's life is flowering. Designed to increase pollination, their colours, fragrance and shapes have fascinated humans for centuries. People have grown, cut, preserved, painted, eaten, given and received flowers since time began. Flowers are at your birth and death. In fact, flowers will probably be at more of your life's great moments that anything else.

So which ones should you grace your garden with? If you want annuals you are spoilt for choice but a few guaranteed to please are: alyssum, petunia, violet, pansy and daisy. Perennials are the great survivor and often pop up year after year in that corner of the yard that used to be a garden. Some of the best are: rose, jonquil, hippeastrum, geranium, dahlia, agapanthus and iris.

Shrubs are plentiful as well and most require pruning: gardenia, azalea, daphne, tibouchina, hibiscus and grevillea. Trees provide shade and wind protection but can also put on a show. A few that look great are: poinciana, eucalyptus, jacaranda, frangipanni and magnolia.

All flowering plants need fertilising, watering when required and pruning. They won't feed your stomach but the pleasure they give a person can keep them warm on even the saddest occasions. So buy a flower today, or better yet, plant one.

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