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Can You Dig It: Annuals And Perennials For Your Garden

Annuals And Perennials

Million bells are annuals that come in red, coral and lavender. (Credit: CBS)

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GLENCOE, Ill. (CBS) — So you want to get your garden going, but you’re not sure what to plant. First, you have to learn a key lesson.

CBS 2’s Megan Glaros has the proverbial dirt on the difference between annuals and perennials. As Tim Pollack of the Chicago Botanic Garden explains, they each have their own script.

“Annuals are plants that generally live for just one season, whereas perennials can live for more than two years,” Pollack said.

Annuals make a quick performance, but pack some powerful color. Lobilia and salvia black and blue are cool-colored, while million bells come in red, coral and lavender.

Perennials, such as athyriums, are more subdued characters. But they have interesting foliage, leaf textures and shapes.

But coral bells and coreopsis also offer a hint of color in the perennial world.

So who should star on your stage?

“Annuals tend to be a little easier for most people to get started with,” Pollack said. “You can put them in pots, containers; they’re great for people who live in the city, that might have a balcony or a very small space.”

And don’t forget – it’s location, location, location.

“There are certain plants that do a lot better in the shade,” Pollack said.

Among such plants are the bergenia and the begonia. Others, like tithonia, a Mexican sunflower, love the hot, dry spots in the garden.

And yes, it’s fine to mix it up. You can even add a vegetable or two.

“This is Swiss chard,” Pollack said as he showed us one easy-to-grow leafy vegetable. “It is highly edible, and it will last all summer long, and it’s very easy to grow.”

We want to know what’s happening in your garden. Send us a photo and let us know, and we’ll also give you the answers to any gardening questions.